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WOT from any special interest which I 
anticipate you will take in this Volume, or any 
sympathy you will feel in its argument, or 
intrinsic fitness of any kind in my associating 
you and your Fellows with It, 

But, because I have nothing besides it to 
offer you, in token of my sense of the gracious 
compliment which you and they have paid me 
in making me once more a Member of a College 
dear to me from Undergraduate memories ; 

Also, because of the happy coincidence, that 
whereas its first publication was contemporaneous 
with my leaving Oxford, its second becomes, by 
virtue of your act, contemporaneous with a 
recovery of my position there : 


Therefore it is that, "without jour leave or 
your responsibility, I take the bold step of 
placing \our nniur- in the first pages of what, at 
u i t v Jiu'-s I must consider the last print or reprint 
on which I shall ever be engaged. 

I am, rur dear Pi*osidcnt, 


ilost sincerely yonrs, 


/' ...n'w/'if '23, 1878. 


THE following pages were not ki the first instance written 
to prove the divinity of the Catholic Religion, though 
ultimately they furnish a positive argument in its behalf, 

but to explain certain diffie allies in its history, felt before 

now by the author himself, and commonly insisted on by 

Protestants in controversy, as serving to blunt the force of 
its primd facie and general claims on our recognition. 

However beautiful and promising that Religion is in 
theory, its history, we are told, is its best refutation ; the 
inconsistencies, found age after age in its teaching, being 
as patent as the simultaneous contrarieties of religious 
opinion manifest in the High, Low, and Broad branches 
of the Church of England. 

In reply to this specious objection, it is maintained in 
this Essay that, granting that some large variations of 
teaching in its long course of 1800 years exist, never- 
theless, these, on examination, will be found to arise 
from the nature of the case, and to proceed on a law, 
and with a harmony and a definite drift, and with 


an analogy to Sciipture revolutions, which, instead of 
telling to their disadvantage, actually constitute an argu- 
ment in their favour, as witnessing to a superintending 
Providence and a great Design in the mode and in the 
t'iieuin&taneos* oi* their occurrence. 

Perhaps his confidence in the truth and availableness 
of (his view has sometimes led the author to be careless 
and over-liberal in his concessions to Protestants of 
historical fact, 

If this he so anywhere, he begs hc reader in such 
oivos to understand him as speaking hypothetical^, and 
in the sense of an argumentum ad homfnem and a fortiori. 
Nor is such hypothetical reasoning out of place in a 
publication which is addres>ed, not to theologians, but to 
those who as yet are not even Catholics, and who., as they 
read history, would scoff at any defence of Catholic doctrine 
which did not go the length of covering admissions in 
matters of fact as broad as those which are here ventured 

In this new Edition of the Essay various important 
alterations have been made in the arrangement of its 
separate parts, and some, not indeed in its matter, but in 
its text. 

Fdnt uy 2, 1878, 



IT is now above eleven years since the writer of the 
following pages, in one of the early Numbers of the 
Tracts for the Times, expressed himself thus : 


" Considering the high gifts, and the strong claims of the Church 
of Rome and her dependencies on our admiration, reverence, love, and 
gratitude, how could \\ e withstand her, as we do ; huw could \ve refrain 
from being melted into tenderness, and rushing* into communion 
with her, Lut for the words of Truth, which hid lib prefer Itself to the 
whole world? 'He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is 
not worthy of Wo/ How could we learn to he severe, and execute 
judgment, Lut for the warning of Moses against even a divinely-gifted 
teacher who should preach new gods, and the anathema of St. Paul 
even against Angels and Apobtles who should bring in a new 
doctrine ? " l 

He little thought, when he so wrote, that the time 
would ever come when he should feel the obstacle, which 
he spoke of as lying in the way of communion with the 
Church oi Rome, to be destitute of solid foundation. 

The following work is directed towards its removal. 

Having, in former publications, called attention to the 

1 Records of the Church, xxiv. p. 7* 


tmp]K>twl difficulty, lie owisiilm himself bound to avow 
hi** prtMMii biJiff that it is imaginary* 

lit k4 ii-5i!iiT tlio iiMlity to put out of hand a finished 
eoiiip'nitiott, wr tl:e \vi4i to muke a powerful and moving 
j-Hi'i^I' 1 .;:, on tli' jrr*at subject of which he treats. 
aim viI3 b- ni\<\\ i ivl, if ho succeeds in suggesting 
ghts, will -It in GoJJf. pro<>fl time may quietly bear 
jruil, in the niiusls of thn^e to whom that subject is new; 
tuirl \vlii*h iray curry forward inquirers, who have already 
put ih*'m-'Jvt's on the ot /arise. 

If u? times his tone appears positive or peremptory, 
he lidpt^ this will be imputed to the scientific character 
of the Work, which requires a dibtinct statement of 
principles, and of the arguments which recommend them. 

IIu bojjes too he shall be excused for his frequent 
quotations from Limsi'li'; which are necessary in order to 
show how he stands at present in relation to various of 
his former Publications. * * * 


Oet ales 0,1815. 


Since the above was written, the Author has joined 
the Catholic Church. It was his intention and wish to 
have carried his Volume through the Prezss before deciding 


finally on t]?is step. But when he had got some way in 
the printing, he recognized in himself a conviction of the 
truth of the conclusion to which the discussion leads, so 
clear as to supersede further deliberation. Shortly after- 
wards circumstances gave him the opportunity of acting 
upon it, and he felt that he had no warrant for refusing 
to do so. ^ 

His first act on his conversion was to offer his Work for 
revision to the proper authorities ; but the offer was 
declined on the ground that it was written and partly 
printed before he was a Catholic, and that it would come 
before the reader in a more persuasive form, if he read it 
as the author wrote it. 

It is scarcely necessary to add that he now submits 
every part of the book to the judgment of the Church, 
with whose doctrine, on the subjects of which he treats^ 
he wishes all his thoughts to be coincident. 





The Development of Ideas 33 

Section 1. The Process of Development in Ideas . . 33 
Section 2. The Bands of Development in Ideas ... 4*1 


The Antecedent Argument in behalf of Developments in Christian 

Doctrine ^ 

Section 1. Developments to be expected .... 5 

Section 2. An infallible Developing Authority to be expected 75 
Section 3. The existing Developments of Doctrine the 

probable Fulfilment of that Expectation , . 92 


The Historical Argument in behalf of the existing Developments 99 

Section 1. Method of Proof * 99 

Sections. State of the Evidence ..... 110 




/nstanees In Illustration ........ 122 

Section 1. Instances cursorily noticed .... 123 

1. Canon of the New Testament ... 123 

2. Original Sin 126 

3. Infant Baptism 127 

4 Communion in one kind 329 

5. The Homousion % 133 

Section 2. Our Lord's Incarnation, and the dignity of His 

Mother and of all Saints 135 

Section 3. Papal Supremacy 148 




Genuine Developments contrasted with Corruptions . . . 169 
Section 1, First Note of a genuine Development of an Idea : 

Preservation of its Type 171 

Section 2. Second Note : Continuity of its Principles . .178 
Section 3. Third Note : Its Power of Assimilation . t 185 
Section 4. Fourth Note : Its Logical Sequence . . . 189 ' 
Section 5. Fifth Note : Anticipation of its Future . . 195 
Section 6. Sixth Note : Conservative Action upon its Past. 199 
Section 7. Seventh Note : Its Chronic Vigour . . .203 


Application of the First Note of a true Development to the 
Etxktang 1 Developments of Christian Doctrine : Preservation of 
itsl^ype 2Q7, 


Section 1. The Church of the Fimt CbnhiriHi . . . 20H 

Sccticm 2. The Church of the Fourth Ontuir , . 1 24H 

Section & The Church of the Fifth and Sixth ttml uru* . 27# 


Application of the Second : Continuity of it Principle . . 323 

1. PrhicipleH of Christianity ..... 323 

2. Supremacy o-f Faith ...... $26 

3. Theology . . . * ..... 830 

4 Scripture and its Mystical Interpretation . , $3$ 

5. Dosrraa ........ 3W5 

6. Additional Eemarks ...... 353 


Application of the Third : its Assimilative Power . . 355 

1. The Assimilating Power of Dogmatic Truth . 357 

2. The Assimilating Power of Sacramental Grace . 368 


Application of the Fourth : Its Logical Sequence . . . $#& 

1. Pardons ........ 384 

2. Penances ........ 38$ 

3. Satisfactions ....... 38$ 

4. Purgatory ........ 388 

5. Meritorious Works ...... 80S 

6. The Monastic Rule ...... 395 


Application of the Fifth : Anticipation of its Future . . . 400 

1. Resurrection and Relies 4 401 

& The Virgin Life ...... 407 

3, Cultns of Saints nnd Angels .... 41$ 

4. Office of the Blessed Virgin . . . .415 



Application of the Sixth : Conservative Action on its Past . 4X9 
Section 1* Instances cumrily noticed . 420 

Section & Devotion to the Blessed Virgin .... 435 


Application of the Seventh : its Chronic Vigour , * .437 
Coircuuiov ... ^^ 





CHRISTIANITY has been long enough in the world to 
justify us in dealing with it as a fact in the world's 
history. Its genius and character, its doctrines, precepts, 
and objects cannot bejireated as matters of private opinion 
or deduction, unless we may reasonably so regard the 
Spartan institutions or the religion of Mahomet. It may 
indeed legitimately be made the subject-matter of theories ; 
what is its moral and political excellence, what its due 
location in the range of ideas or of facts which we possess, 
whether it be divine or human, whether original or 
eclectic, or both at once, how far favourable to civilization 
or to literature, whether a religion for all ages or for a 
particular state of society, these are questions upon the 
fact, or professed solutions of the fact, and belong to the 
province of opinion ; but to a fact do they relate, on an 
admitted fact do they turn, which must be ascertained as 
other facts, and surely has on the whole been so ascertained, 
unless the testimony of so many centuries is to go for 
nothing. Christianity is no theory of the study or the 
cloister. It has long since passed beyond the letter of 
documents and the reasonings of individual minds, and 
has become public property. Its " sound has gone out 
into all lands," and its " words unto the ends of the 
world." It has from the first had an objective existence, 
1 B 2 


and has thrown itself upon the great concourse of men- 
Its home is in the world ; and to know what it is, we must 
seek it in the world,, and hear the world's witness of it. 


The hypothesis, indeed, has met with wide reception in 
these latter times, that Christianity does not fall within the 
province of history, that it is to each man what each man 
thinks it to be, and nothing else; and thus in fact is a 
mere name for a cluster or family of rival religions all 
together, religions at variance one with another, and 
claiming the same appellation, not because there can be 
assigned any one and the same doctrine as the common 
foundation of all, but because certain points of agreement 
may be found here and there of some sort or other, by 
which each in its turn is connected with one or other of 
the rest. Or again, it has been maintained, or implied, 
that all existing denominations of Christianity are wrong, 
none representing it as taught by Christ and His Apostles ; 
that the original religion has gradually decayed or become 
hopelessly corrupt ; nay that it died out of the world at its 
birth, and was forthwith succeeded by a counterfeit or 
counterfeits which assumed its name, though they inherited 
at best but some fragments of its teaching ; or rather that 
it cannot even be said either to have decayed or to have 
dfed, because historically it has no substance of its own, 
but from the first and onwards it has, on the stage of the 
world, been nothing more than a mere assemblage of 
doctrines and practices derived from without, fri>m 
Oriental, Platonic, Polytheistic sources, from Buddhism, 
Esmism, Manicheeism ; or that, allowing true Christianity 
*M1 to exist, it has but a bidden and isolated life, ia tij 
hearts of the elect, or again as a literature or philosophy 
not certified i* any way, much less guaranteed, to come 
ftom above, but o&e out of the various separate informs 


tions about ^the Supreme Being and human duty, with 
which an unknown Providence has furnished us, whether 
in nature or in the world. 


All such views of Christianity imply that there is 110 
sufficient body of historical proof to interfere with, or at 
least to prevail against, any number whatever of free and 
independent hypotheses concerning it But this surely is 
not self-evident, and has itself to*bc proved. Till positive 
reasons grounded on facts are adduced to the contrary, the. 
most natural hypotheses, the most agreeable to our mode 
of proceeding in parallel cases, and that which takes pre- 
cedence of all others, is to consider that the society of 
Christians, which the*Apostles left on earth, were of that 
religion to which the Apostles had converted them ; that 
the external continuity of name, profession, and com- 
munion, argues a real continuity of doctrine ; that, as 
Christianity began by manifesting itself as of a certain 
shape and bearing to all mankind, therefore it went on so 
to manifest itself; and that the more, considering that 
prophecy had already determined that it was to be a poWer 
visible in the world and sovereign over it, characters 
which are accurately fulfilled in that historical Christianity 
to which we commonly give the name. It is not a violent 
assumption, then, but rather mere abstinence from the 
wanton admission of a principle which would necessarily 
lead to the most vexatious and preposterous scepticism* , 
to take it for granted, before proof to the contrary, that 
the Christianity of the second, fourth, seventh, twelftlv 
sixteenth, and intermediate centuries is in its substance thie 
very religion which Christ and His Apostles taught in the 
first, whatever may be the modifications for; good or for 
L^vjDL whiph lapse of years* or tlie vicisaisudes of 
affairs, have impressed upon it. 


Of course I do not deny the abstract possibility of ex- 
treme changes. The substitution is certainly, in idea, 
supposable of a counterfeit Christianity, superseding the 
original, by means of the adroit innovations of seasons, 
places, and persons, till, according to the familiar illustra- 
tion, the "blade" and the handle" are alternately 
renewed, and identity is lost without the loss of continuity. 
It is possible ; but it must not be assumed. The omtspro- 
fcftdfiis with those who assert what it is unnatural to expect ; 
to be just able to doubt is no warrant for. disbelieving. 


Accordingly, some writers have gone on to give reasons 
from history for their refusing to appeal to history. Thej* 
aver that, when they come to look into the documents and 
literature of Christianity in times past, they find its 
doctrines so variously represented, and so inconsistently 
maintained by its professors, that, however natural it be 
k priori, it is useless, in fact, to seek in history the matter 
of that Revelation which has been vouchsafed to mankind ; 
that they cannot be historical Christians if they would. 
They say, in the words of Chillingworth, " There are 
popes against popes, councils against councils, some 
fathers against otters, the same fathers against themselves, 
a consent of fathers of one age against a consent of fathers 
of another age, the Church of one age against the Church 
of another age r " Hence they are forced, whether they 
will or not, to fall back upon the Bible as the sole source 
of Revelation, and upon their own personal private judg^ 
ment its the sole expounder of its doctrine. This is a fail* 
argument, if it caa be maintained, and it brings me at' 
once to the subject of this Essay. Not that it enters into 
my purpose to convict of misetatement, as might be done, 
each separate clause of this sweeping accusation of a smart i 
but superficial writer; but neither on the other hand do I i 


mean to deny everything that he says to the disadvantage 
of historical Christianity. On the contrary, I shall admit 
that there are in fact certain apparent variations in its 
teaching, which have to be explained ; thus I shall begin, 
but then I shall attempt to explain them to the exculpa- 
tion of that teaching in point of unity, directness, and 


Meanwhile, before setting about this work, I will 
address one remark to Ohillingworth and his friends : 
Let them consider, that if they can criticize history, the 
facts of history certainly can retort upon them. It 
might, I grant, be clearer on this great subject than it 
is. This is no great concession. History is not a creed 
or a catechism, it gives lessons rather than rules ; still no 
one can mistake its general teaching in this matter, whether 
he accept it or stumble at it. Bold outlines and broad 
masses of colour rise out of the records of the past. They 
may be dim, they may be incomplete ; but they are 
definite. And this one thing at least is certain ; whatever 
history teaches, whatever it omits, whatever it exaggerates 
or extenuates, whatever it says and unsays, at least the 
Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there 
were a safe truth, it is this. 

And Protestantism has ever felt it so. I do not mean 
that every writer on the Protestant side has felt it ; for it 
was the fashion at first, at least as a rhetorical argument 
against Borne, to appeal to past ages, or to some of them j 
but Protestantism, as a whole, feels it, and has felt it. 
This is shown in the determination already referred to of 
dispensing with historical Christianity altogether, and of " 
forming a Christianity from the Bible alone: men never 
would have put it aside, unless they had despaired of ; 
It is shown by t}ie long neglect of ecclesiastical history '&,,. 
England, \^hich prevails even in the English < \Cjbiutali* ;? 


Ckf popular religion scarcely recognizes the fact of the 
tttbf long ages which Ue between the Councils of 
Nictea and Trent, except as affording one or two passages 
to illustrate its wild interpretations of certain prophesies 
of St. Paul and St. John. It is melancholy to say it, but 
tbe chief, perhaps the only English writer who has any 
claim to be considered an ecclesiastical historian, is the 
unbeliever Gibbon. To be deep in history is to cease to 

be a Protestant. 

* P. 

And this utter incongruity between Protestantism and 
historical Christianity is a plain fact, whether ^ the latter 
be regarded in its earlier or in its later centuries. Pro- 
testants can as little bear its Ante-nicene as its Post-tri- 
dentine period. I have elsewhere observed on this cir- 
cumstance: "So much must the Protestant grant that, if 
such a system of doctrine as he would now introduce ever 
existed in early times, it has been clean swept away as if 
bjra deluge, suddenly, silently, and without memorial; 
by a delage coining in a night, and utterly soaking, rot- 
ting, heaving up, and hurrying off every vestige of what 
it- found -io. the Church, before cock-crowing: so that 
4 when they rose in the morning ' her true seed ( were all 
dead corpses * Nay dead and buried and without grave- 
stone* 'The waters went over them; there was not one 
of them left ; they sunk like lead in the mighty waters/ 
Strange antitype, indeed, to the early fortunes of Israel ! 
then tfre enemy was drowned, and c Israel saw them 
dead upon the sea-shore/ But now, it would seem, water 
proceeded as a flood 'out of the serpent's mouth/ and 
covered all the witnesses, so that not even their dead 
bodies * lay in the streets of the great city/ Let iim 
ta|2& Vhich of his doctrines he will, his peculiar view; (rf 
self-rigkteousaess, of formality, of superstition ; his notion 
of Mtiy ot of spirituality in religious worship ; his denial 


of the virtue of the sacraments, or of the ministerial com- 
mission, or 6f the visible Church ; or his doctrine of the 
divine efficacy of the Scriptures as the one appointed 
instrument of religious teaching; and let him consider 
how far Antiquity, as it has come down to us, will counte- 
nance him in it. No; he must allow that the alleged 
deluge has done its work ; yes, and has in turn disap- 
peared itself; it has been swallowed up by the earth, 
mercilessly as itself was merciless/' l 

That Protestantism, then, is* not the Christianity of 
history, it is easy to determine, but to retort is a poor reply 
in controversy to a question of fact, and whatever be the 
violence or the exaggeration of writers like Chillingworth, 
if they have raised a real difficulty, it may claim a real 
answer, and we naust^determine whether on the one hand 
Christianity is still to represent to us a definite teaching 
from above, or whether on the other its utterances have 
been from time to time so strangely at variance, that we 
are necessarily thrown back on our own judgment indi- 
vidualty to determine, what the revelation of God is, or 
rather if in fact there is, or has been, any revelation at all. 


Here then I concede to the opponents of historical 
Christianity, that there are to be found, during the 1800 
years through which it has lasted, certain apparent incon- 
sistencies and alterations in its doctrine and its worship, 
such as irresistibly attract the attention of all who inquire 
into it. They are not sufficient to interfere with the 
general character and course of the religion, but they raise 
the question how they came about, and what they mean, 
and have in consequence supplied matter for several 

:, I Cburcli of the Fathers [EM. Sketches, tyoLi. p* 4X8]}., , .; 


Of these one, is to the effect that Christianity has even 
changed from the first and ever accommodates itself to the 
circumstances of times and seasons ; but it is difficult to 
understand how such a view is compatible with the special 
idea of revealed truth, and in fact its advocates more or 
less abandon, or tend to abandon the supernatural claims 
of Christianity ; so it need not detain us here. 

A second and more plausible hypothesis is that of the 
Anglican divines, who reconcile and bring into shape the 
exuberant phenomena uriSer consideration, by cutting off 
and casting away as corruptions all usages, ways, opinions, 
and tenets, which have not the sanction of primitive 
times. They maintain that history first presents to us a 
pure Christianity in. East and West, and then a corrupt; 
and then of course their duty is to cfraw the line between 
what is corrupt and what is pure, and to determine the 
dates at which the various changes from good to bad were 
introduced. Such a principle of demarcation, available 
for the purpose, they consider they have found in the 
ifwttnn of Vincent of Lerins, that revealed and Apostolic 
doctrine is " quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus," 
a principle infallibly separating, on the whole field of his- 
toiTj authoritative doctrine from opinion, rejecting what 
is faulty, and combining and forming a theology. That 
" Christianity is what has been held always, everywhere, 
and by all/' certainly promises a solution of the perplexi- 
ties, an interpretation of the meaning, of history. What 
can be more natural than that divines and bodies of men 
should speak, sometimes from themselves, sometimes from 
tradition ? what more natural than that individually they 
should say many things on impulse, or under excitement, or 
as conjectures, or in ignorance ? what more certain than 
that they must all have been instructed and catechized in 
the Creed of the Apostles ? what more evident than that 
what was their own would in its degree be peculiar, and 


differ from what was similarly private and personal in thei 
brethren ? what more conclusive than that the doctrin 
that was common to all at once was not really their owi 
but public property in which they had a joint interes' 
and was proved by the concurrence of so many witnesses! 
have come fr oni an Apostolical source ? Here, then* w 
have a short and easy method for bringing the v a riot 
informations of ecclesiastical history under that antecc 
dent probability in its favour, which nothing but its actui 
variations would lead us to neglect. Here we have 
precise and satisfactory reason why we should mat 
much of the earlier centuries, yet pay no regard to th 
later, why we should admit some doctrines and not other; 
why we refuse the Creed of Pius IV, and accept the Thirtj 
nine Articles. 


Such is the rule of historical interpretation which h? 
been professed in the English school of divines ; and 
contains a majestic truth, and offers an intelligible prir 
ciple, and wears a reasonable air. It is congenial, or, i 
it may be said, native to the Anglican mind, which tak< 
up a middle position, neither discarding the Fathers nc 
acknowledging the Pope. It lays down a simple rule b 
which to measure the value of every historical fact, as 
comes, and thereby it provides a bulwark against Rom 
while it opens an assault upon Protestantism, Such is i 
promise ,* but its difficulty lies in applying it in particuL 
cases. The rule is more serviceable in determining whi 
is not, than what is Christianity ; it is irresistible again 
Protestantism, and in one sense indeed it is irresistib 
against Rome also, but in the same sense it is irresistib 
against England. It strikes at Rome through Englan* 
It admits of being interpreted in one of two ways : 
it be narrowed for the purpose of disproving the cath< 

12 nrrnoDUcnosr. 

licity of the Creed of Pope Pius, it becomes also an objec- 
tion to the Athanusian ; and if it be relaxed to admit the 
doctrines retained by the English Church, it no longer 
excludes certain doctrines of Home which that Church 
denies. It cannot at once condemn Sfc. Thomas and St. 
Bernard, and defend St. Athanasius and St. Gregory 

This general defect in its serviceableness has been here- 
tofore felt by those who appealed to it. It was said by 
one writer ; " The Rule of*Vincent is not of a mathematical 
or demonstrative character, but moral, and requires 
practical judgment and good sense to apply it. For 
instance, what is meant by being 'taught always 9 ? does 
it mean in every century, or every year, or every month ? 
Does * everywhere ' mean in every country, or in every 
diocese? and does 'the Consent of Fathers' require us to 
produce the direct testimony of every one of them ? How 
many Fathers, how many places, how many instances, con- 
stitute a fulfilment of the test proposed? It is, then, 
from the nature of the case, a condition which never can 
be satisfied as fully as it might have been. It admits of 
various and unequal application in various instances; 
and what degree of application is enough, must be decided 
by the same principles which guide us in the conduct of 
life, which determine us in politics, or trade, or war, which 
lead us to accept Revelation at all, (for which we have but 
probability to show at most,) nay, to believe in the existence 
of an intelligent Creator." 3 


So much was allowed by this writer; but then he 
added : 

<c This character, indeed, of Yincent's Canon, will but 
recommend it to the disciples of the school of Butler, from 

' * Propli. Office [Via Media, vol. i. pp. 55, 56]. 


its agreement with, tlie analogy of nature ; but it affords a 
ready loophole 'for such as do not wish to be persuaded, of 
whach both Protestants and Romanists are not slow to 
avail themselves." 

This surely is the language of disputants who are more 
intent on assailing others than on defending themselves ; 
as if similar loopholes were not necessary for Anglican 

He elsewhere says : " What there Is not the shadow of 
a reason for saying that the Fathers held, what has not 
the faintest pretensions of being a Catholic truth, is this, 
that St. Peter or his successors were and are universal 
Bishops, that they have the whole of Christendom for their 
one diocese in a way^in which other Apostles and Bishops 
had and have not." 3 Most true, if, in order that a doctrine 
be considered Catholic, it must be formally stated by the 
Fathers generally from the very first ; but, on the same 
understanding, the doctrine also of the apostolical succes- 
sion in the episcopal order " has not the faintest pretensions 
of being a Catholic truth ." 

Nor was this writer without a feeling of the special 
difficulty of his school ; and he attempted to meet it by 
denying it. He wished to maintain that the sacred 
doctrines admitted by the Church of England into her 
Articles were taught in primitive times with a distinctness 
which no one could fancy to attach to the characteristic 
tenets of Borne. 

"We confidently affirm,*' he said in another publication, 
" that there is not an article in the Athanasian Creed con- 
cerning the Incarnation which is not anticipated in the 
controversy with the Gnostics. There is no question which 
the Apollinarian or the Nestorian heresy raised, which 
may not be decided in the words of Ignatius, Irenoeus and 
Tertullian." * 
* [Ibid. p. 181.] * [British Critic, July, 1836, p. 193 Vid. supr* vol. a. p. ISO.] 



This may be considei ed as true. It may be trae also, or 
at least shall here be granted as true, that there is also 
a consensus in the Ante-nicene Church for the doctrines of 
our Lord's Consubstantiality and Coeternity with the 
Almighty Father. Let us allow that the whole circle of 
doctrines, of which our Lord is the subject, was consistently . 
and uniformly confessed by the Primitive Church, though 
not ratified formally in Council. But it surely is otherwise 
with the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. I do not see in 
what sense it can be said that there is a consensus of primi- 
tive divines in its favour, which will not avail also for 
certain doctrines of the Roman Church which will presently 
come into mention. And this is a j*>int which the writer 
of the above passages ought to have more distinctly brought 
before his mind and more carefully weighed ; but he seems 
to have fancied that Bishop Bull proved the primitiveness 
of the Catholic doctrine concerning the Holy Trinity -as 
well as that concerning our Lord. 

Now it should be clearly understood what it is which 
must be shown by those who would prove it. Of course 
the doctrine of our Lord's divinity itself partly implies and 
partly recommends the doctrine of the Trinity ; but impli- 
cation and suggestion belong to another class of arguments 
which has not yet come into consideration. Moreover the 
statements of a particular father or doctor may certainly 
be of a most important character ; but one divine is not 
equal to a Catena. We must have a whole doctrine stated 
by a whole Church. The Catholic Truth in question is 
made up of a number of separate propositions, each of which, 
if maintained to the exclusion of the rest, is a heresy. 
In order then to prove that all the Ante-nicene writers 
taught the dogma of the Holy Trinity, it is not enough 
to prove that each still has gone far enough to be only a 


heretic- not enough to prove thafc one has held that tlie 
Son is God, (for so did the Sabellian, so did the Macedo- 
nian), and another that the Father is not the Son, (for so 
did the Arian), and another that the Son is equal to the 
Father, (for so did the Tritheist), and another that there 
is but One God, (for so did the Unitarian), not enough 
that many attached in some sense a Threefold Power to 
the idea of the Almighty, (for so did almost all the heresies 
that ever existed, and could not but do so, if they accepted 
the New Testament at all) ; buu we must show that all 
these statements at once, and others too, are laid down bv 
as many separate testimonies as may fairly be taken to 
constitute a " comemna of doctors." It is true indeed that 
the subsequent profession of the doctrine in the Universal 
Church creates a presumption that it was held oven before 
it was professed; and it is fair to interpret the early 
Fathers by the later. This is true, and admits of applica- 
tion to certain other doctrines besides that of the Blessed 
Trinity in Unity; but there is as little room for such 
antecedent probabilities as for the argument from sugges- 
tions and intimations in the precise and imperative Quod 
semper, quod iibique, quod ab omnihts, as it is commonly 
understood by English divines, and is by them used 
against the later Church and the see of Rome, What we 
have a right to ask, if we are bound to act upon Vincent's 
rule in regard to the Trinitarian dogma, is a sufficient 
number of Ante-nicene statements, each distinctly antici- 
pating the Athanasian Creed. 


Now let us look at the leading facts of the case, in 
appealing to which I must not be supposed to be ascribing 
any heresy to the holy men whose words have not always 
been sufficiently full or exact to preclude the imputation. 
First, the Creeds of that early day make no mention in 


their letter of the Catholic doctrine at all. They make 
mention indeed of a Three; but that there is any mystery in 
the doctrine, that the Three are One, that They are coequal, 
coeternal, all increate ; all omnipotent, all incomprehensible, 
is not stated, and never could be gathered from them. Of 
course we believe that they imply it, or rather intend it. 
God forbid we should do otherwise! But nothing in the 
mere letter of those documents leads to that belief. To 
give a deeper meaning to their letter, we must interpret 
them by the times which came after. 

Again, there is one and one only great doctrinal Council 
in Ante-nicene times. It was held at Antioch, in the 
middle of the third century, on occasion of the incipient 
innovations of the Syrian heretical school. Now the 
Fathers there assembled, for whatever reason, condemned, 
or at least withdrew, when it came into the dispute, the 
word "Ilomousion," which was afterwards received at 
Nicssa as the special symbol of Catholicism against 
Arius. 8 

Again, the six great Bishops and Saints of the Ante- 
nicene Church were St. Irenoous, St. Hippolytus, St. 
Cyprian, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, St. Dionysius of 
Alexandria, and St. Methodius. Of these, St. Dionysius is 
accused by St. Basil of having sown the first seeds of 
Arianism ; 6 and St. Gregory is allowed by the same learned 
Father to have used language concerning our Lord, which 
he only defends on the plea of an economical object in the 
writer. 7 St. Hippolytus spsaks as if he were ignorant of 

8 Tins of course has b<*en disputed, as is the case with almost all facts 
which bear upon the decision of controversies. I shall not think it necessary 
to notice the possibility or the fact of objections on questions upon which 
the world may now be said to be agreed; e.g. the arianizing tone of 

\c'7w, ofiros Icr-rip, &rcc ye ^e?y Jf0>F, 6 irpa-ro 

JSp. ix. 2. 7 Bull, Dofeiis. F. N. ii. 12, 6. 


our Lord's Eternal Sonship; 8 St. Methodius speal? 
incorrectly at least upon the Incarnation ; 9 and St. Oypria 
does not treat of theology at all. Such is the incomplete 
ness of the extant teaching of these true saints, anc 
in their day, faithful witnesses of the Eternal Son. 

Again, Atheuagoras, St. Clement, Tertullian, and th 
two SS. Dionysii would appear to be the only writei 
whose language is at any time exact and systematic enoug 
to remind us of the Athanasian Creed. If wo limit ou 
view of the teaching of the ^Fathers by what the 
expressly state, St. Ignatius may be considered as a Patri 
passian, St. Justin arianizes, and St. Hippolytus is 

Again, there are three great theological authors o 
the Ante-nicene ceturies, Tertullian, Origen, and, w 
may add, Eusebius, though he lived some way into th 
fourth. Tertullian is heterodox on the doctrine of ou 
Lord's divinity, 1 and, indeed, ultimately fell altogethe 
into heresy or schism; Origen is, at the very least 
suspected, and must be defended and explained rather thai 
cited as a witness of orthodoxy ; and Eusebius was a Semi 


Moreover, it may be questioned whether any Ante 

8 * The authors who make the generation temporary, and speak not ex 
prcssly of any other, are these following : Justin, Athenagoras, Theophilus 
Tatian, Tertullian, and Hippolytus." Waterland, vol. i. part 2, p. 104. 

a "Levia sunt/' says Maran in his defence, "qua in Sanctissimam Trim 
tatem hie liber peccare dicitur, paulo graviora qua in mysterium Incarna 
tionis." D/. Jes. Christ p. 527. Shortly after, p. 530, "In tertil oration 
nonnulla legimus Incarnationem Domini spectantia, quae suhabsurde dicfo 
fateor, nego impifc cogitata." 

1 Bishop Bull, who is tender towards him, allows, *' Ut quod res est dicara 
cum "Vjilpntinianis hie et reliquo gnosticorum grege aliquatenus locutus es 
TertnlHauus; in re ipsa tamen cum Catholicis omnind sensifc/' Defens 
R JK in. 10, 15. 


nicene father distinctly affirms either the numerical Unity 
or the Cooquality of the Three Persons ; except perhaps the 
heterodox Tertullian, and that chiefly in a work written 
after he had become a Montanist : 2 yet to satisfy the Anti- 
romnn use of Quod semper, 8fc. 3 surely we ought not to be 
left for those great articles of doctrine to the testimony of 
a later age. 

Further, Bishop Bull allows that " nearly all the ancient 
Catholics who preceded Arius have the appearance of being 
ignorant of the invisible and incomprehensible (immemam) 
nature of the Son of God ; " 3 an article expressly taught in 
the Athanasian Creed under the sanction of its anathema. 

It must be asked, moreover, how much direct and 
literal testimony the Ante -nicene Fathers give, one by one, 
to the divinity of the Holy Spirit ? * This alone shall be 
observed, that St. Basil, in the fourth century, finding 
that, if he distinctly called the Third Person in the 
Blessed Trinity by the Name of God, he should be put out 
of the Church by the Arians, pointedly refrained from 
doing so on an occasion on which his enemies were on the 
watch ; and that, when some Catholics found fault with 
him, St. Athanasius took his part. 4 Could this possibly 
have been the conduct of any true Christian, not to say 
Saint, of a later age ? that is, whatever be the true account 
of it, does it not suggest to us that the testimony of those 
early times lies very unfavourably for the application of 
the rule of Vineentius ? 


Let it not be for a moment supposed that I impugn the 
orthodoxy of the early divines, or the cogency of their 
testimony among fair inquirers ; but I am trying them by 

AuV. 1 1*8.X611IH. 3 X)&fcB$ F JsT iv *5 S 1 

4 Basil, ed. Bun vol. 2 p. ycvi. 


that unfair interpretation of Vincentius, which is necessary 
in order to make him available against the Church of 
Rome. And now, as to the positive evidence which those 
Fathers offer in behalf of the Catholic doctrine of the 
Trinity, it has been drawn out by Dr. Burton and seems 
to fall under two heads. One is the general ascription of 
glory to the Three Persons together, both by fathers and 
churches, and that on continuous tradition and from the 
earliest times. Under the second fall certain distinct 
statements of particular fathers ; thus we find the word 
"Trinity" used by St. Theophilus, St. Clement, St. 
Hippolytus, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Origen, St. Methodius ; 
and the Divine Cirewnince8sio t the most distinctive portion 
of the Catholic doctrin^, and the unity of power, or again, 
of substance, are declared with more or less distinctness 
by Athenagoras, St. Irencous, St, Clement, Tertullian, 
St. Hippolytus, Origen, and the two SS. Dionysii. This 
is pretty much the whole of the evidence. 


Perhaps it will be said we ought to take the Ante-nicene 
Fathers as a whole, and interpret one of them by another. 
This is to assume that they are all of one school, which of 
course they are, but which in controversy is a point to be 
proved; but it is even doubtful whether, on the whole, 
such a procedure would strengthen the argument. For 
instance, as to the second head of the positive evidence 
noted by Dr. Burton, Tertullian is the most formal and 
elaborate of these Fathers in his statements of the Catholic 
doctrine. " It would hardly be possible," says Dr. Burton, 
after quoting a passage; " for Athanasius himself, or the 
compiler of the Athanasian Creed, to have delivered the 
doctrine of the Trinity in stronger terms than these/' 4 
Yet Tertullian must be considered heterodox on the 


s Ante-niccne Test, to the Trinity, p. -69. 
C 2 


doctrine of our Lord's eternal generation. 8 If then we 
are to argue from his instance to that of the other Fathers, 
we shall be driven to the conclusion that even the most 
exact statements are worth nothing more than their letter, 
are a warrant for nothing beyond themselves, and are 
consistent with heterodoxy where they do not expressly 
protest against it m 

And again, as to the argument derivable irom the 
Doxologies, it must not be forgotten that one of the 
passages in St. Justin Martyr includes the worship of the 
Angels. " We worship and adore/' he says, " Him, and 
the Son who came from Him and taught us these things, 
and the host of those other good Angels, who follow and 
are like Him, and the Prophetic Spirit/' 7 A Unitarian 
might argue from this passage that the glory and worship 
which the early Church ascribed to our Lord was not 
more definite than that which St. Justin was ready to 
concede to creatures 


Thus much on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Let 
us proceed to another example. There are two doctrines 
which are generally associated with the name of a Father 
of the fourth and fifth centuries, and which can show little 
definite, or at least but partial, testimony in their behalf 
before his time, Purgatory and Original Sin. The dictum 
of Yincent admits both or excludes both, according as it is 
or is not rigidly taken ; but, if used by Aristotle's " Lesbian 
Bule/' then, as Anglicans would wish, it can be made to 
admit Original Sin and exclude Purgatory. 

ft " Quia et Pater Deus est, et judex Dens e,st, non tamen ideo Pattr et 
judex semper, quia Deus semper. Kara nee Pater potuit esse ante Fill u in, 
uec judex ante delictum. Fuit autem. terapus, cuin et delictum et Films non 
fait, quod judicem, et qm Patrem Dominum faceret." Contr. ICerm. 3. 

7 Vid. infra, towards the end of the Essay, ch. x., where more will be said 
oa tie passsage. 


On the one hand, some notion of suffering, or disadvan- 
tage, or punishment after this life, in the case of the faithful 
departed, or other vague forms o the doctrine of Purgatory, 
has in its favour almost a consensus of the four first ages of 
the Church, though some Fathers state it with far greater 
* openness and decision than others. It is, as far as words 
go, the confession of St. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, 
St. Perpetua, St. Cyprian, Origen, Lactantius, St. Hilary. 
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Ambrose, St. Basil, St. Gregory 
of Nazianzus, and of Nyssa, St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, 
St. Paulinus, and St. Augustine. And so, on the other hand, 
there is a certain agreement of Fathers from the first that 
mankind has derived some disadvantage from the sin of 


Next, when we consider the two doctrines more dis- 
tinctly, the doctrine that "between death and judgment 
there is a time or state of punishment ; and the doctrine 
that all men, naturally propagated from fallen Adam, are 
in consequence born destitute of original righteousness, 
we find, on the one hand, several, such as Tertullian, 
St. Perpetua, St. Cyril, St. Hilary, St. Jerome, St. Gregory 
Nyssen, as far as their words go, definitely declaring a 
doctrine of Purgatory : whereas no one will say that there 
is a testimony of the Fathers, equally strong, for thedoctrine 
of Original Sin, though it is difficult here to make any 
definite statement about their teaching without going into 
a discussion of the subject. 

On the subject of Purgatory there were, to speak 
generally, two schools of opinion ; the Greek, which con- 
templated a trial of fire at the last day through which all 
were to pass ; and the African, resembling more nearly the 
present doctrine of the Roman Church. And so there 
were two principal views of Original Sin, the Greek and 


the African or Latin. Of the Greek, the judgment of 
Hooker is well known, though it must not be taken in the 
letter : " The heresy of freewill was a millstone about those 
Pelagians 3 neck ; shall we therefore give sentence of death 
inevitable against all those Fathers in the Greek Church 
which, being mispersuaded, died in the error of freewill ?" 8 
Bishop Taylor, arguing for an opposite doctrine, bears a like 
testimony : " Original Sin," he says, " as it is at this day 
commonly explicated, was not the doctrine of the primitive 
Church; but when PeTagius had puddled the stream, 
St. Austin was so angry that he stamped and disturbed it 
more. And truly . . I do not think that the gentlemen 
that urged against me St. Austin's opinion do well consider 
that I profess myself to follow those Fathers who were 
before him ; and whom. St. Austin cfid forsake, as I do him, 
in the question/' 9 The same is asserted or allowed by 
Jansenius, Petavius, and Walch, 1 men of such different 
schools that we may surely take their agreement as a proof 
of the fact, A late writer, after going through the 
testimonies of the Fathers one by one, comes to the 
conclusion, first, that "the Greek Church in no point 
favoured Augustine, except in teaching that from Adam's 
sin came death, and, (after the time of Methodius,) an 
extraordinary and unnatural sensuality also \" next, that 
" the Latin Church affirmed, in addition, that a corrupt 
and contaminated soul, and that, by generation, was 
carried on to his posterity ; " 2 and, lastly, that neither 

* Of Justification, 26. Works, vol. ix. p. 396. 

1 " Quamvis igitur quam maximfc fallantur Pelagiani, quum asseranfe, 
peccatum originate ex Augustini profluxibse ingenio, antiquam vero ecclesiam 
illad plane nescivisse ; diffiteri tamen nemo potest, apud Gracos patres 
imprimis inveniri loca, qusa Pelagianismo favere videntur. Hinc et C. Jan- 
senius, Graci,* inquit, nisi caute legantur et intelligantur, prabere possunfc 
occasionem errori Pelagiano;* et D. Petavius dicit, ' Grseci originalis fere 
criminis raram, nee disertam, mentionem scriptis suis attigerunt/ w Walch 
MucelL Sacr. p. 607. ' 

3 Horn, Comment, de Pecc. Orig. 1801, p, 9$, 


Greets nor Latins held the doctrine of imputation. 
It may be observed, in addition, that, in spite of the 
forcible teaching of St. Paul on the subject, the doctrine 
of Original Sin appears neither in the Apostles* nor the 
Nicene Creed. 


One additional specimen shall be given as a sample of 
many others : I betake myself^ to one of our altars to 
receive the Blessed Eucharist ; I have no doubt whatever 
on my mind about the Gift which that Sacrament contains ; 
I confess to myself my belief, and I go through the steps 
on which it is assured to me. " The Presence of Christ is 
here, for It follows ugon Consecration ; and Consecration 
is the prerogative of Priests; and Priests are made by 
Ordination ; and Ordination comes in direct line from the 
Apostles. Whatever be our other misfortunes, every link 
in our chain is safe ; we have the Apostolic Succession, we 
have a right form of consecration : therefore we are blessed 
with the great Gift." Here the question rises in me, 
" Who told you about that Gift ? " I answer, " I have 
learned it from the Fathers : I believe the Real Presence 
because they bear witness to it. St. Ignatius calls it * the 
medicine of immortality : ' St. Irenseus says that e our flesh 
becomes incorrupt, and partakes of life, and has the hope 
of the resurrection/ as 'being nourished from the Lord's 
Body and Blood ;' that the Eucharist * is made up of two 
things, an earthly and an heavenly : * 3 perhaps Origen, and 
perhaps Magnes, after him, say that It is not a type of our 
Lord's Body, but His Body : and St. Cyprian uses language 
as fearful' as can be spoken, of those who profane it. I 
cast my lot with them, I believe as they.'* Thus I reply, 
and then the thought comes upon me a second time, " And 
do not the same ancient Fathers bear witness to another 
Haer. iv. 18, 5* 


doctrine, which you disown ? Are you not as a hypocrite, 
listening to them when you will, and deaf when you will 
not P How are you casting your lot with the Saints, when 
you go but half-way with them ? For of whether of the 
two do they speak the more frequently, of the Eeal 
Presence in the Eucharist, or of the Pope's supremacy ? 
You accept the lesser evidence, you reject the greater." 

In truth, scanty as the Ante-nicene notices may be of 

the Papal Supremacy, they are both more numerous and 
more definite than the adducible testimonies in favour of 
the Eeal Presence. The testimonies to the latter are 
confined to a few passages such as tfyose just quoted. On 
the other hand, of a passage in St. Justin, Bishop Kaye 
remarks, "Le Nourry infers that Justin maintained the 
doctrine of Transubstantiation ; it might in my opinion be 
more plausibly urged in favour of Consubstantiation, since 
Justin calls the consecrated elements Bread and "Wine, 
though not common bread and wine. 4 . . . We may there- 
fore conclude that, when he calls them the Body and Blood 
of Christ^ he speaks figuratively." " Clement," observes 
the same author, "says that the Scripture calls wine a 
mystic symbol of the holy blood. , . . Clement gives various 
interpretations of Christ's expressions in John vi. respect- 
ing His flesh and blood; but in no instance does he 
interpret them literally ..... His notion seems to have 
been that, by partaking of the bread and wine in the 
Eucharist, the soul of the believer is united to the Spirit, 
and that by this union the principle of immortality is im- 
parted to the flesh/' s " It has been suggested by some/* 
says Waterland, "that Tertullian understood John vi. 
merely of faith, or doctrine, or spiritual actions ; and it is 
strenuously denied by others." After quoting the passage, 
* Justin Martyr, ch. 4 Clem. Alex. ch. 11. 


he adds, " All that one can justly gather from this confused 
passage is that Tertullian interpreted the bread of life In 
John vi. of the Word, which he sometimes makes to be 
vocal, and sometimes substantial, blending the ideas in a 
very perplexed manner ; so that he is no clear authority 
for construing John vi. of doctrines, &c. All that is cer- 
tain is that he supposes the Word made flesh, the Word 
incarnate to be the heavenly bread spoken of in that chap- 
ter." 6 "Origen's general observation relating to that 
chapter is, that it must not be literally, but figuratively 
understood." 7 Again, " It is plain enough that Eusebius 
followed Origen in this matter, and that both of them 
favoured the same mystical or allegorical construction ; 
whether constantly and uniformly I need not say/' a I will 
but add the incidental testimony afforded on a late occa- 
sion: how far the Anglican doctrine of the Eucharist 
depends on the times before the Nicene Council, how far 
on the times after it, may be gathered from the circum- 
stance that, when a memorable Sermon 9 was published on 
the subject, out of about one hundred and forty passages 
from the Fathers appended in the notes, not in formal 
proof, but in general illustration, only fifteen were taken 
from Ante-nicene writers. 

With such evidence, the Ante-nicene testimonies which 
nay, be cited in behalf of the authority of the Holy See, 
need not fear a comparison. Faint they may be one by 
one, but at least we may count seventeen of them, and they 
are various, and are drawn from many times and countries, 
and thereby serve to illustrate each other, and form a body 
of proof. Whatever objections may be made, to this or 
that particular fact, and I do not think any valid ones can 
be raised, still, on the whole, I consider that a cumulative 
argument rises from them in favour of the ecumenical and 

Works, vol. vii. p. 118120. 7 Ibid. p. 121. 

8 Ibid. p. 127. 9 [Dr. Pusey's University Sermon of 1843 J. 


the doctrinal authority of Home, stronger than any 
argument which can he drawn from the same period for 
the doctrine of the Real Presence. I shall have occasion 
to enumerate them in the fourth chapter of this Essay. 


If it be said that the Eeal Presence appears, by the 
Liturgies of the fourth or fifth century, to have been the 
doctrine of the earlier,.since those very forms probably 
existed from the first in Divine worship, this is doubtless 
an important truth ; but then it is true also that the writers 
of the fourth and fifth centuries fearlessly assert, or frankly 
allow that the prerogatives of Ptome were derived frorii 
apostolic times, and that because it was the See of St. Peter. 

Moreover, if the resistance of St. Cyprian and Firmilian 
to the Church of Rome, in the question of baptism by 
heretics, be urged as an argument against her primitive 
authority, or the earlier resistance of Polycrates of Ephesus, 
let it be considered, first, whether all authority does not 
necessarily lead to resistance ; next, whether St. Cyprian's 
own doctrine, which is in favour of Rome, is not more 
weighty than his act, which is against her; thirdly, whether 
he was not already in error in the main question under 
discussion, and Firmilian also ; and lastly, which is the 
chief point here, whether, in like manner, we may not object 
on the other hand against the Real Presence the words of 
Tertullian, who explains, "This is my Body," by " a figure 
of my Body/' and of Origen, who speaks of our drinking 
Christ's Blood not only in the rite of the Sacraments, but 
also when we receive His discourses/' 1 and says that "that 
Broad which God the Word acknowledges as" His Body is 
the Word which nourishes souls/' 2 passages which admit 
of a Catholic interpretation when the Catholic doctrine is 

1 Xomer. Horn. svi. 9. s Interp, Com. in Matfc. 85. 


once proved, but which primd facie run counter to that 

It does not seem possible, then, to avoid the conclusion 
that, whatever be the proper key for harmonizing the 
records and documents of the early and later Church, and 
true as the dictum of Yincentius must be considered in 
the abstract, and possible as its application might be in his 
own age., when he might almost ask the primitive centuries 
for their testimony, it is hardly available now, or effective 
of any satisfactory result. ThS solution it offeis is as 
difficult as the original problem. 


Another hypothesis for accounting for a want of accord 
between the early ancf the lafce aspects of Christianity is 
that of the DlscipZina Arcani, put forward on the assump- 
tion that there has been no variation in the teaching of 
the Church from first to last. It is maintained that 
doctrines which are associated with the later ages of the 
Church were really in the Church from the first, but not 
publicly taught, and that for various reasons : as, for the 
sake of reverence, that sacred subjects might not be pro- 
faned by the heathen ; and for 1he sake of catechumens, 
that they might not be oppressed or carried away by a 
sudden communication of the whole circle of revealed 
truth. And indeed the fact of this concealment can hardly 
be denied, in whatever degree it took the shape of a defi- 
nite rule, which might vary with persons and places. 
That it existed even as a rule, as regards the Sacraments, 
seems to be confessed on all hands. That it existed in 
other respects, as a practice, is plain from the nature of tho 
case, and from the writings of the Apologists. Minucius 
Felix and Arnobius, in controversy with Pagans, imply a 
denial that then the Christians used altars ; yet Tertullian 
speaks expressly of the Ara Dei in the Church. What 


can we say, but that the Apologists deny altars in the 
sense in which they ridicule them; or, that they deny 
that altars such as the Pagan altars were tolerated by 
Christians ? And, in like manner, Minucius allows that 
there were no temples among Christians; yet they are 
distinctly recognized in the edicts of the Dioclesian era, 
and are known to have existed at a still earlier date. It 
is the tendency of every dominant system, such as the 
Paganism of the Ante-nicene centuries, to force its oppo- 
nents into the most hostile and jealous attitude, from the 
apprehension which they naturally fee], lest if they acted 
otherwise, in those points in which they approximate to- 
wards it, they should be misinterpreted and overborne by 
its authority. The very fault now found with clergymen 
of the Anglican Church, who wish* to conform their prac- 
tices to her rubrics, and their doctrines to her divines of 
the seventeenth century, is, that, whether they mean it or 
no, whether legitimately or no, still, in matter of fact, they 
will be sanctioning and encouraging the religion of Home, 
in which there are similar doctrines and practices, more 
definite and more influential ; so that, at any rate, it is 
inexpedient at the moment to attempt what is sure to be 
mistaken. That is, they are required to exercise a disci- 
ptina arcani; and a similar reserve was inevitable on the 
part of the Catholic Church, at a time when priests and 
altars and rites all around it were devoted to malignant 
and incurable superstitions. It would be wrong indeed 
to deny, but it was a duty to withhold, the ceremonial of 
Christianity ; and Apologists might be sometimes tempted 
to deny absolutely what at furthest could only be denied 
under conditions. An idolatrous Paganism tended to re- 
press the externals of Christianity, as, at this day, the 
presence of Protestantism is said to repress, though for 
another reason, the exhibition of the Eoman Catholic 


On various grounds, then, it is certain that portions of 
the Church system were held back in primitive times, 
and of course this fact goes some way to account for that 
apparent variation and growth of doctrine, which embar- 
rasses us when we would consult history for the true idea 
of Christianity ; yet it is no key to the whole difficulty, 
as we find it, for obvious reasons : because the varia- 
tions continue beyond the time wten it is conceivable' 
that the discipline was in force, and because they manifest 
themselves on a law, not abruptly, but by a visible growth 
which has persevered up to this time without any sign 
of its coming to an end. 3 

. 2L 

The following Essay is directed towards a solution of the 
difficulty which has been stated, the difficulty, as far as 
it exists, which lies in the way of our using in controversy 
the testimony of our most natural informant concerning 
the doctrine and worship of Christianity, viz. the history of 
eighteen hundred years. The view on which it is written 
has at all times, perhaps, been implicitly adopted by theo- 
logians, and, I believe, has recently been illustrated by 
several distinguished writers of the continent, such as De 
Maistre and Mohler : viz. that the increase and expansion of 
the Christian Creed and Ritual, and the variations which 
have attended the process in the case of individual writers 
and Churches, are the necessary attendants on any 
philosophy or polity which takes possession of the intellect 
and heart, and has had any wide or extended dominion ; 
that, from the nature o the human mind, time is necessary 
for the full comprehension and perfection of great ideas ; 
and that the highest and most wonderful truths, though 

* [Vld. Apolog., p. 198, and Difficulties of Angl. vol. i. xii. 7.] 


communicated to the world once for all by inspired 
teachers, could not be comprehended all at once by the 
recipients, but, as being received and transmitted by minds 
not inspired and through media which were human, have 
required only the longer time and deeper thought for 
their full elucidation. This may be called the Theory of 
Development qf Doctrine ; and, before proceeding to treat 
of it, one remark may be in place. 

It is undoubtedly an hypothesis to account for a diffi- 
culty ; but such too are the various explanations given by 
astronomers from Ptolemy to Newton of the apparent 
motions of the heavenly bodies, and it is as unphilosophical 
on that account to object to the one as to object to the 
other. jSFor is it more reasonable to express surprise, that 
at tliis time of day a theory is necessary, granting for 
argument's sake that the theory is novel, than to have 
directed a similar wonder in disparagement of the theory 
of gravitation, or the Plutonian theory in geology. Doubt- 
]*-ss, the theory of the Secret and the theory of doctrinal 
Developments are expedients, and so is the dictum of Vin- 
centius ; so is the art of grammar or the use of the quad- 
rant ; it is an expedient to enable us to solve what has 
now become a necessary and an anxious problem. For 
three hundred years the documents and the facts of Chris- 
tianity have been exposed to a jealous scrutiny ; works 
have been judged spurious which once were received with- 
out a question; facts have been discarded or modified 
which were once first principles in argument ; new facts 
and new principles have been brought to light ; philo- 
sophical views and polemical discussions of various 
tendencies have been maintained with more or less success. 
Not only has the relative situation of controversies and 
theologies altered, but infidelity itself is in a different, 
I am obliged to say in a more hopeful position, as regards 
Christianity. The facts of Eevealed Religion, though in 


tlieir substance unaltered, present a less compact and 
orderly front to the attacks of its enemies now than 
formerly, and allow of the introduction of new inquiries 
and theories concerning its sources and its rise. The state 
of things is not as it was, whon an appeal lay to the sup- 
posed works of the Areopagite, or to the primitive Decre- 
tals, or to St. Dionysius's answers to Paul, or to the Coona 
Domini of St. Cyprian. The assailants of dogmatic truth 
have got the start of its adherents of whatever Creed; 
philosophy is completing what criticism has begun ; and 
apprehensions are not unreasonably excited lest we should 
have a new world to conquer before we have weapons for 
the warfare. Already infidelity has its views and con- 
jectures, on which it arranges the facts of ecclesiastical 
history; and it is sure to consider the absence of any 
antagonist theory as an evidence of the reality of its own. 
That the hypothesis, here to be adopted, accounts not only 
for the Athanasian Creed, but for the Creed of Pope Pius, 
is no fault of those who adopt it. No one has power over 
the issues of his principles ; we cannot manage our argu- 
ment, and have as much of it as we please and no more 
An argument is needed, unless Christianity is to abandon 
the province of argument ; and those who find fault with 
the explanation here offered of its historical phenomena 
will find it their duty to provide one for themselves. 

And as no special aim at Roman Catholic doctrine need 
be supposed to have given a direction to the inquiry, so 
neither can a reception of that doctrine be immediately 
based on its results. It would be the work of a life to 
apply the Theory of Developments so carefully to the 
writings of the Fathers, and to the history of controversies 
and councils, as thereby to vindicate the reasonableness of 
every decision of Eome ; much less can such an undertaking 
be imagined by one who, in the middle of bis days, is 
beginning life again. Thus much, however, might be 


gained even from an Essay like the present, an explana- 
tion of so many of the reputed corruptions, doctrinal and 
practical, of Rome, as might serve as a fair ground for 
trusting her in parallel cases whers the investigation had 
not been pursued. 




IT is the characteristic of our minds to be ever engaged 
in passing judgment on the things which come before 
us. No sooner do we apprehend than we judge : we allow 
nothing to stand by itself : we compare, contrast, abstract, 
generalize, connect, adjust, classify: and we view all our 
knowledge in the associations with which these processes 
have invested it, 

Of the judgments thus made, which become aspects in 
our minds of the things which meet us, some are mere 
opinions which come and go, or which remain with us 
only till an accident displaces them, whatever be the 
.influence which they exercise meanwhile. Others are 
firmly fixed in our minds, with or without good reason, 
and have a hold upon us, whether they relate to matters of 
fact, or to principles of conduct, or are views of life and 
the world, or are prejudices, imaginations, or convictions. 
Many of them attach to one and the same object, which, is 
thus variously viewed, not only by various minds, but by 
the same. They sometimes lie in such near relation, that 


each implies the others ; some are only not inconsistent with 
each other, in that they have a common origin : some, as 
beino- actually incompatible with each other, are, one or 
other, falsely associated in our minds with their object, and 
in any case 'they may be nothing more than ideas, which 
we mistake for things. u 

Thus Judaism is an idea which once was objective, and 
Gnosticism is an idea which was never so. Both of them 
have various aspects : those of Judaism were such as mono- 
theism, a certain ethicai discipline, a ministration of divine 
vengeance, a preparation for Christianity : those of the 
Gnostic idea are such as the doctrine of two principles, 
that of emanation, the intrinsic malignity of matter, the 
inculpability of sensual indulgence, or the guilt of every 
pleasure of sense, of which last tw* one or other must be 
in the Gnostic a false aspect and subjective only. 


The idea which represents an object or supposed object 
is commensurate with the sum total of its possible aspects, 
however they may vary in the separate consciousness of 
individuals ; and in proportion to the variety of aspects 
under which it presents itself to various minds is its force 
and depth, and the argument for its reality. Ordinarily 
an idea is not brought home to the intellect as objective 
except through this variety ; like bodily substances, which 
are not apprehended except under the clothing of their 
properties and results, and which admit of being walked 
round, and surveyed on opposite sides, and in different 
perspectives, and in contrary lights, in evidence of their 
reality. And, as views of a material object may be taken 
from points so remote or so opposed, that they seem at 
first sight incompatible, and especially as their shadows 
will be disproportionate, or even monstrous, and yet all 
these anomalies will disappear and all these contrarieties 


be adjusted, on ascertaining the point of vision or the 
surface of projection in each case \ so also all the aspects 
of an idea are capable of coalition, and of a resolution into 
the object to which it belongs; and the primd facie dis- 
similitude of its aspects becomes, when explained, an argu- 
ment for its substantiveness and integrity, and their multi- 
plicity for its originality and power. 


There is no one aspect deep enough to exhaust the con- 
tents of a real idea, no one term or proposition which will 
serve to define it ; though of course one representation of 
it is more just and exact than another, and though when 
an idea is very complex, it is allowable, for the sake of con- 
venience, to consider its distinct aspects as if separate ideas* 
Thus, with all our intimate knowledge of animal life and 
of the structure of particular animals, we have not arrived 
at a true definition of any one of them, but are forced to 
enumerate properties and accidents by way of description. 
Nor can we. inclose in a formula that intellectual fact, or 
system of thought, which we call the Platonic philosophy, 
or that historical phenomenon of doctrine and conduct,, 
which we call the heresy of Montanus or of Manes. Again, 
if Protestantism were said to lie in its theory of private 
judgment, and Lutheranism in its doctrine of justification, 
this indeed would be an approximation to the truth ; but 
it is plain that to argue or to act as if the one or the other- 
aspect were a sufficient account of those forms of religion 
severally, would be a serious mistake. Sometimes an 
attempt is made to determine the "leading idea," as it has 
been called, of Christianity, an ambitious essay as employed 
on a supernatural work, when, even as regards the visible 
creation and the inventions of man, such a task is beyond 
us. Thus its one idea has been said by some to be the 
restoration of our fallen race, by others philanthropy, by 

D 2 


others tie tidings of immortality, or the spirituality of 
true religious service, or the salvation of the elect, or 
mental liberty, or the union of the soul with God. If, 
indeed, it is only thereby meant to use one or other of 
these as a central idea for convenience, in order to group 
others around it, no fault can be found with such a proceed- 
ing : and in this sense I should myself call the Incarnation 
the central aspect of Christianity, out of which the three 
main aspects of its teaching take their rise, the sacramen- 
tal, the hierarchical, and the ascetic. But one aspect of 
Revelation must not be allowed to exclude or to obscure 
another; and Christianity is dogmatical, devotional, 
practical all at once ; it is esoteric and esoteric ; it is 
indulgent and strict ; it is light ai$ dark ; it is love, and 
it is fear. 


"When an idea, whether real or not, is of a nature to 
arrest and possess the mind, it may be said to have life, 
that is, to live in the mind which is its recipient. Thus 
mathematical ideas, real as they are, can hardly properly 
be called living, at least ordinarily. But, when some 
great enunciation, whether true or false, about human 
nature, or present good, or government, or duty, or religion, 
is carried forward into the public throng of men and 
draws attention, then it is not merely received passively 
in this or that form into many minds, but it becomes an 
active principle within them, leading them to an ever-new 
contemplation of itself, to an application of it in various 
directions, and a propagation of it on every side. Such is 
the doctrine of the divine right of kings, or of the rights 
of man, or of the anti-social bearings of a priesthood, or 
utilitarianism, or free trade, or the duty of benevolent 
enterprises, or the philosophy of Zeno or Epicurus, doctrines 
which are of a nature to attract and influence, and have so 


far a -primd facie reality, tliat they may be looked at on 
many sides and strike various minds very variously. Let one 
such idea get possession of the popular mind, or the mind 
of an} T portion of the community, and it is not difficult to 
understand what will be the result. At first men will not 
fully realize what it is that moves them, and will express 
and explain themselves inadequately. There will be a 
general agitation of thought, and an action of inind upon 
mind. There will he a time of confusion, when conceptions 
and misconceptions are in conflict, and it is uncertain 
whether anything is to come of the idea at all,, or which 
view of it is to get the start of the others. New lights will 
be brought to bear upon the original statements of the doc- 
trine put forward ; judgments and aspects will accumulate. 
After a while some definite teaching emerges ; and, as time 
proceeds, one view will be modified or expanded by another, 
and then combined with a third ; till the idea to which 
these various aspects belong, will be to each mind separately 
what at first it was only to all together. It will be sur- 
veyed too in its relation to other doctrines or facts, to other 
natural laws or established customs, to the vary ing circum- 
stances of times and places, to other religions, polities, 
philosophies, as the case may be. How it stands affected 
towards other systems, how it affects them, how far it may 
be made to combine with, them, how far it tolerates them, 
when it interferes with them, will be gradually wrought 
out. It will be interrogated and criticized by enemies, and 
defended by well-wishers. The multitude of opinions 
formed concerning it in these respects and many others 
will be collected, compared, sorted, sifted, selected, rejected, 
gradually attached to it, separated from it, in the minds 
of individuals and of the community. It will, in propor- 
tion to its native vigour and subtlety, introduce itself into 
the framework and details of social life, changing public 
opinion, and strengthening or undermining the foundations 


of established order. Thus in time it will have grown 
into an ethical code, or into a system of government,^ 
into a theology, or into a ritual, according to its capabili- 
ties : and this body of thought, thus laboriously gained, 
will after all be little more than the proper representative 
of one idea, being in substance what that idea meant from 
the first, its 'complete image as seen in a combination of 
diversified aspects, with the suggestions and corrections of 
many minds, and the illustration of many experiences. 


This process, whether it be longer or shorter in point of 
time, by which the aspects of an idea are brought into 
consistency and form, I call its development, being the 
germination and maturation of some truth or apparent 
truth on a large mental field. On the other hand this pro- 
cess will not be a development, unless the assemblage of 
aspects, which constitute its ultimate shape, really belongs 
to the idea from which they start. A republic, for instance, 
is not a development from a pure monarchy, though it may 
follow upon it ; whereas the Greek " tyrant " may be 
considered as included in the idea of a democracy. More- 
over a development will have this characteristic, that, its 
action being in the busy scene of human life, it cannot 
progress at all without cutting across, and thereby des- 
troying or modifying and incorporating with itself existing 
modes of thinking and operating. The development then 
of an idea is not like an investigation worked out on paper, 
in which each successive advance is a pure evolution from 
a foregoing, but it is carried on through and by means of 
communities of men and their leaders and guides ; and it 
employs their minds as its instruments, and depends 
upon them, while it uses them. And so, as regards exist- 
ing opinions, principles, measures, and institutions of the 
community which it has invaded; it developes by esta- 


Wishing relations between itself and them ; it employs it- 
self, in giving them a new meaning and direction, in 
creating what may be called a jurisdiction over them, in 
throwing off whatever in them it cannot assimilate. It 
grows when it incorporates, and its identity is found, not 
in isolation, but in continuity and sovereignty. This it is 
that' imparts to the history both of states and of religions, 
its specially turbulent and polemical character. Such is 
the explanation of the wranglings,^ whether of schools or of 
parliaments. It is the warfare of ideas under their various 
aspects striving for the mastery, each of them enterprising, 
engrossing, imperious, more or less incompatible with the 
rest, and rallying followers or rousing foes, according as 
it acts upon the faith^ the prejudices, or the interest of 
parties or classes. 


Moreover, an idea not only modifies, but is modified, or 
or at least influenced, by the state of things in which it is 
carried out, and is dependent in various ways on the cir- 
cumstances which surround it. Its development proceeds 
quickly or slowly, as it may be ; the order of succession 
in its separate stages is variable ; it shows differently in 
a small sphere of action and in an extended ; it may be 
interrupted, retarded, mutilated, distorted, by external 
violence ; it may be enfeebled by the effort of ridding itself 
of domestic foes ; it may be impeded and swayed or even 
absorbed by counter energetic ideas ; it may be coloured 
by the received tone of thought into which it comes, or 
depraved by the intrusion of foreign principles, or at length 
shattered by the development of some original fault within 


But whatever be the risk of corruption from intercourse 
with the world around, such a risk must be encountered 


if a groat idea is duly to be understood, and much more if 
it is to be fully exhibited. It is elicited and expanded by 
trial, and battles into perfection and supremacy. Nor does 
it escape the collision of opinion even in its earlier years, 
nor does it remain truer to itself, and with a better claim 
to be considered one and the same, though externally pro- 
tected from vicissitude and change. It is indeed some- 
times said that the stream is clearest near the spring. 
Whatever use may fairjy be made of this image, it does 
not apply to the history of a philosophy or belief, which 
on the contrary is more equable, and purer, and stronger, 
when its bed has become deep, and broad, and full. It 
necessarily rises out of an existing state of things, and for 
a time savours of the soil. Its vitijj. element needs disen* ' 
gaging from what is foreign and temporary, and is em- 
ployed in efforts after freedom which become more vigorous 
and hopeful as its years increase. Its beginnings are no 
measure of its capabilities, nor of its scope. At first no 
one knows what it is, or what it is worth. It remains per- 
haps for a time quiescent ; it tries, as it were, its limbs, and 
proves the ground under it, and feels its way. Prom time 
to time it makes essays which fail, and are in consequence 
abandoned. It seems in suspense which way to go ; it 
wavers, and at length strikes out in one definite direction. 
In time it enters upon strange territory ; points of con- 
troversy alter their bearing ; parties rise and fall around 
it ; dangers and hopes appear in new relations ; and old 
principles reappear under new forms. It changes with 
them in order to remain the same. In a higher world it 
is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to 
be perfect is to have changed often* 




To attempt an accurate analysis or complete enumera- 
tion of the processes of thought, whether speculative or 
practical, which come under the notion of development, 
exceeds the pretensions of an Essay like the present ; but, 
without some general view of the various mental exercises 
which go by the name we shall have*no security against con- 
fusion in our reasoning and necessary exposure to criticism. 

1. First, then, it must be borne in mind that the word 
is commonly used, and is used here, in three senses indis- 
criminately, from defect of our language ; on the one hand 
for the process of development, on the other for the result ; 
and again either generally for a development, true or not 
true, (that is, faithful or unfaithful to the idea from which 
it started,) or exclusively for a development deserving the 
name. A false or unfaithful development is more properly 
to be called a corruption. , 

2. Next, it is plain that mathematical developments, that 
is, the system of truths drawn out from mathematical defi- 
nitions or equations, do not fall under our present subject, 
though altogether analogous to it. There can be no cor* 
mption in such developments, because they are conducted 
on strict demonstration ; and the conclusions in which they 
terminate, being necessary, cannot be declensions from the 
original idea. 

3. 3STor, of course, do physical developments, as the 
growth of animal or vegetable nature, come into considera- 
tion here ; excepting that, together with mathematical, 
they may be taken as illustrations of the general subject to 
which we have to direct our attention. 

4. Nor have we to consider material developments, 
which, though effected by human contrivance, are still 


physical ; as the development, as It is called, of the national 
resources, We speak, for instance, of Ireland, the United 
States, or the valley of the Indus, as admitting of a great 
development \ by which we mean, that those countries have 
fertile tracts, or abundant products, or broad and deep 
rivers, or ceniral positions for commerce, or capacious and 
commodious harbours, the materials and instruments of 
wealth, and these at present turned to insufficient account. 
Development in this case will proceed by establishing marts, 
cutting canals laying *down railroads, erecting factories, 
forming docks, and similar works, by which the natural 
riches of the country may be made to yield the largest 
return and to exert the greatest influence. In this sense, 
art is the development of nature, that is, its adaptation to 
the purposes of utility and beauty, the human intellect 
being the developing power. 


5. When society and its various classes and interests are 
the subject-matter of the ideas which are in operation, the 
development may be called political; as we see it in the 
growth of States or the changes of a Constitution. 
Barbarians descend into southern regions from cupidity, 
and their warrant is the sword : this is no intellectual pro- 
cess, nor is it the mode of development exhibited in 
civilized communities. Where civilization exists, reason, 
in some shape or other, is the incentive or the pretence of 
development. When an empire enlarges, it is on the call 
of its allies, or for the balance of power, or from the 
necessity of a demonstration of strength, or from a fear 
for its frontiers. It lies uneasily in its territory, it is ill- 
shaped, it has unreal boundary-lines, deficient communica- 
tion between its principal points, or defenceless or turbu- 
lent neighbour*. Thus, of old time, Eubrea was necessary 
for Athens, and Cythera for Sparta,- and Augustus left 


his advice, as a legacy, to confine the Empire between the 
Atlantic, the Rhine and Danube, the Euphrates, and the 
Arabian and African deserts. In this day, we hear of the 
Rhine being the natural boundary of France, and the 
Indus of our Eastern empire ; and we predict that, in the 
event of a war, Prussia will change her outlines in the 
map of Europe. The development is material ; but an 
idea gives unity and force to its movement. 

And so to take a case of national politics, a lute writer 
remarks of the Parliament of 1628*29, in its contest with 
Charles, that, so far from encroaching on the just powers 
of a limited monarch, it never hinted at the securities 
which were necessary for its measures. However, " twelve 
years more of repeated aggressions/' he adds, " taught 
the Long Parliament Vhat a few sagacious men might 
perhaps have already suspected; that they must recover 
more of their ancient constitution, from oblivion ; that 
they must sustain its partial weakness by new securities ; 
that, in order to render the existence of monarchy com- 
patible with that of freedom, they must not only strip it of 
all it had usurped, but of something that was its own." l 
Whatever be the worth of this author's theory, his facts or 
representations are an illustration of a political development. 

Again, at the present day, that Ireland should have a 
population of one creed, and a Church of another, is felt 
to be a political arrangement so unsatisfactory, that all 
parties seem to agree that either the population will de- 
velope in power or the Establishment in influence. 

Political developments, though really the growth of 
ideas, are often capricious and irregular from the nature 
of their subject-matter. They are influenced by the 
character of sovereigns, the rise and fall of statesmen, the 
fate of battles, and the numberless vicissitudes of the 
world. " Perhaps the Greeks would be still involved in 
1 Hallam's Constifc, Hist. ch. vii. p. 572. 


the heresy of the Monophysites/' says Gibbon, " if the 
Emperor's horse had not fortunately stumbled. Theodosius 
expired, his orthodox sister succeeded to the throne." s 


Again, it often happens, or generally, that Yarious 
distinct and incompatible elements are found in the 
origin or infancy of politics, or indeed of philosophies, 
some of which must be ejected before any satisfactory de- 
velopments, if any, can take place. And they are com- 
monly ejected by the gradual growth of the stronger. 
The reign of Charles the First, just referred to, supplies 
an instance in point. 

Sometimes discordant ideas are for a time connected and 
concealed by a common profession or name. Such is the 
case of coalitions in politics and comprehensions in re- 
ligion, of which commonly no good is to be expected* 
Such is an ordinary function of committees and boards, 
and the sole aim of conciliations and concessions, to make 
contraries look the same, and to secure an outward agree- 
ment where there is no other unity. 

Again> developments, reactions, reforms, revolutions, 
and changes of various kinds are mixed together in the 
actual history of states, as of philosophical sects, so as to 
make it very difficult to exhibit them in any scientific 

Often the intellectual process is detached from the prac- 
tical, and posterior to it. Thus it was after Elizabeth had 
established the Reformation that Hooker laid down his 
theory of Church and State as one and the same, differing 
only in idea ; and, after the Revolution arid its political 
consequences, that Warburton wrote his "Alliance." 
And now again a new theory is needed for the constitutional 
lawyer, in order to reconcile the existing political state of 
* bh. xlviL 


things with the just claims of religion. And so, again, in 
Parliamentary conflicts, men first come to their conclusions 
by the external pressure of events or the force of prin- 
ciples, they do not know how ; then they have to speak, 
and they look about for arguments : and a pamphlet is 
published on the subject in debate, or an article appears 
in a Review, to furnish common-places for the many. 

Other developments, though political., are strictly sub- 
jected and consequent to the ideas of which they are the 
exhibitions. Thus Locke's philosophy was a real guide, 
not a mere defence of the Revolution era, operating 
forcibly upon Church and Government in and after his day. 
Such too were the theories which preceded the overthrow 
of the old regime in France and other countries at the end 
of the last century. * 

Again, perhaps there are polities founded on no ideas 
at all, but on mere custom, as among the Asiatics. 


6. In other developments the intellectual character is 
so prominent that they may even be called logical, as in 
the Anglican doctrine of the Hoyal Supremacy, which has 
been created in the courts of law, not in the cabinet or on 
the field. Hence it is carried out with a consistency and 
minute application which the history of constitutions can- 
not exhibit. It does not only exist in statutes, or in 
articles, or in oaths, it is realized. in details: as in the 
conge d'elire and letter-missive on appointment of a 
Bishop ; in the forms observed in Privy Council on the 
issuing of State Prayers ; in certain arrangementsobserved 
in the Prayer-book, where the universal or abstract 
Church precedes the King, but the national or really 
existing body follows him ; in printing his name in large 
capitals, while, the Holiest Names are in ordinary type, 
and in fixing his arms in churches instead of the Crucifix; 

4(5 . ON THE RIOTS OF L C]a: ' L 

moreover, perhaps, in placing " sedition, privy conspiracy, 
and rebellion/' before '* false doctrine, heresy, and schism " 
in the Lilany. 

Again, when some new philosophy or its instalments are 
introduced into the measures of the Legislature, or into 
the concessions made to a political party, or into commer- 
cial or agricultural policy, it is often said, " We have not 
seen the end of this ; " " It is an earnest of future con- 
cessions ; " " Our children will see/' "We feel that it has 
unknown bearings aud*issues. 

The admission of Jews to municipal offices has lately 
been defended 3 on the ground that it is the introduction 
of no new principle, but a development of one already re- 
ceived ; that its great premisses have been decided long 
since ; and that the present age ha*s but to draw the con- 
clusion ; that it is not open to us to inquire what ought to 
be done in the abstract, since there is no ideal model for 
the infallible guidance of nations; that change is only a 
question of time, and that there is a time for all things ; 
that the application of principles ought not to go beyond 
the actual case, neither preceding nor coming after an 
imperative demand ; that in point of fact Jews have lately 
been chosen for offices, and that in point of principle the 
law cannot refuse to legitimate such elections. 


7. Another class of developments may be called his- 
torical; being the gradual formation of opinion concerning 
persons, facts, and events. Judgments, which were at 
one time confined to a few, at length spread through a 
community, and attain general reception by the accumu- 
lation and concurrence of testimony. Thus some authori- 
tative accounts die away ; others gain a footing, and are 
ultimately received as truths. Courts of law, Parliament- 
3 Times newspaper of March, 1845. 


ary proceedings, newspapers, letters and other posthumous 
documents, the industry of historians and biographers, and 
the lapse of years which dissipates parties and prejudices, 
are in this day the instruments of such development. 
Accordingly the Poet makes Truth the daughter of Time, 4 
Thus at length approximations are made to a right 
appreciation of transactions and characters. History cau- 
not be written except in an after-age. Thus by develop- 
ment the Canon of the New Testament has been formed. 
Thus public men are content to lecfve their reputation to 
posterity; great reactions take place in opinion; nay, 
sometimes men outlive opposition and obloquy. Thus 
Saints are canonized in the Church, long after they have 
entered into their rest. 


8. Ethical developments are not properly matter for 
argument and controversy, but are natural and personal, 
substituting what is congruous, desirable, pious, appro- 
priate, generous, for strictly logical inference. Bishop 
Butler supplies us with a remarkable instance in the 
beginning of the Second Part of his "Analogy." As 
principles imply applications, and general propositions in- 
clude particulars, so, he tells us, do certain relations imply 
correlative duties, and certain objects demand certain acts 
and feelings. He observes that, even though we were not 
enjoined to pay divine honours to the Second and Third 
Persons of the Holy Trinity, what is predicated of Them 
in Scripture would be an abundant warrant, an indirect 
command, nay, a ground in reason, for doing so, " Does 
not/' he asks, " the duty of religious regards to both these 
Divine Persons as immediately arise, to the view of reason, 
out of the very nature of these offices and relations, as the 
inward good-will and kind intention which we owe to our 
4 Crabbe's Tales. 

48 01$ THE KINDS Of C CH - L 

fellow-creatures arises out of the common relations between 
tis and them'? " He proceeds to say that he is speaking of 
the inward religious regards of reverence, honour, love, 
trust, gratitude, fear, hope. "In what external manner 
this inward worship is to be expressed, is a matter of pure 
revealed command 5 . . but- the worship, the internal 
worship itself, to the Son and Holy Ghost, is no further 
matter of pure revealed command than as the relations 
they stand in to us are matter of pure revelation; for, the 
relations being knowa, the obligations to such internal 
worship are obligations of reason, arising out of those 
relations themselves/' Here is a development of doctrine 
into worship, of which parallel instances are obviously to 

be found in the Church of Borne. 


A development, converse to that which Butler speaks of, 
must next be mentioned. As certain objects excite certain 
emotions and sentiments, so do sentiments imply objects 
and duties. Thus conscience, the existence of which we 
cannot deny, is a proof of the doctrine of a Moral 
Governor, which alone gives it a meaning and a scope j 
that is, the doctrine of a Judge and Judgment to come 
is a development of the phenomenon of conscience. 
Again, it is plain that passions and affections are in 
action in our minds before the presence of their proper 
objects ; and their activity would of course be an antece- 
dent argument of extreme cogency in behalf of the real 
existence of those legitimate objects, supposing them un- 
known. And so again, the social principle, which is 
innate in us, gives a divine sanction to society and to civil 
government. And the usage of prayers for the dead im- 
plies certain circumstances of their state upon which such 
devotions bear, And rites and ceremonies are natural 
means through which the mind relieves itself of devotional 


and penitential emotions. And sometimes the cultivation 
of awe and love towards what is great, high, and unseen, 
has led a man to the abandonment of his sect for some 
more Catholic form of doctrine. 

Aristotle furnishes us with an instance of this kind of 
development in his account of the happy man. After 
showing that his definition of happiness includes in itself 
the pleasurable, which is the most obvious and popular 
idea of happiness, he goes on to say that still external 
goods are necessary to it, about which, however, the defi- 
nition said nothing ; that is, a certain prosperity is by 
moral fitness, not by logical necessity, attached to the 
happy man. " For it is impossible," he observes, (< or not 
easy, to practise high virtue without abundant means. 
Many deeds are done *by the instrumentality of friends, 
wealth and political power ; and of some things the absence 
is a cloud upon happiness, as of noble birth, of hopeful 
children, and of personal appearance : for a person utterly 
deformed, or- low-born, or bereaved and childless, cannot 
quite be happy : and still less if he have very worthless 
children or friends, or they were good and died." 5 


This process of development has been well delineated by 
a living French writer, in his Lectures on European civi- 
lization, who shall be quoted at some length. "If we 
reduce religion," he says, " to a purely religious sentiment 
... it appears evident that it must and ought to remain 
a purely personal concern. But I am either strangely 
mistaken,, or this religious sentiment is not the complete 
expression of the religious nature of man. Eeligion is, I 
believe, very different from this, and much more extended. 
There are problems in human nature, in human destinies, 
which cannot be solved in this life, which depend on an 
s Efch. Nic. i. 8. 

50 Off THE KINDS OF [CH. I. 

order of things unconnected with the visible world, but 
which unceasingly agitate the human mind with a desire 
to comprehend them. The solution of these problems is 
the origin of all religion ; her primary object is to discover 
the creeds and doctrines which contain, or are supposed to 
contain it. 

" Another cause also impels mankind to embrace religion 
. . . From whenco do morals originate ? whither do they 
Ic ad ? is this self-existing obligation to do good, an isolated 
fact, without an authof, without an end ? does it not con- 
ceal, or rather does it not reveal to man, an origin, a destiny, 
beyond this world? The science of morals, by these 
spontaneous and inevitable questions, conducts man to the 
threshold of religion, and displays to him a sphere from 
whence he has not derived it. Thus the certain and never- 
failing sources of religion are, on the one hand, the pro- 
blems of our nature ; on the other, the necessity of seeking 
for morals a sanction, an origin, and an aim. It there- 
fore assumes many other forms beside that of a pure senti- 
ment ; it appears a union of doctrines, of precepts, of 
promises. This is what truly constitutes religion ; this is 
its fundamental character ; it is not merely a form of 
sensibility, an impulse of the imagination, a variety of 

" When thus brought back to its true elements, to its 
essential nature, religion appears no longer a purely 
personal concern, but a powerful and fruitful principle of 
association. Is it considered in the light of a system of 
belief, a system of dogmas ? Truth is not the heritage 
of any individual, it is absolute and universal ; mankind 
ought to seek and profess it in common. Is it considered 
with reference to the precepts that are associated with its 
doctrines ? A law which is obligatory on a single indi- 
vidual, is so on ail ; it ought to be promulgated, and it is 
our duty to endeavour to bring all mankind under its 


dominion. It is the same with respect to the promises that 
religion makes, in the name of its creeds and precepts ; 
they ought to be diffused ; all men should be incited to 
partake of their benefits. A religious society, therefore, 
naturally results from the essential elements of religion, 
and is such a, necessary consequence of it that the term 
which expresses the most energetic social sentiment, the 
most intense desire to propagate ideas and extend society, 
is the word pro&elytlsm, a term which is especially applied 
to religious belief, and in fact consecrated to it. 

" When a religious society has ever been formed, when 
a certain number of men are united by a common religious 
creed, are governed by the same religious precepts, and 
enjoy the same religious hopes, some form of government 
is necessary. No society can endure a week, nay more, no 
society can endure a single hour, without a government. 
The moment, indeed, a society is formed, by the very fact 
of its formation, it calls forth a government, a govern- 
ment which shall proclaim the common truth which is the 
bond of the society, and promulgate and maintain the 
precepts that this truth ought to produce. The necessity 
of a superior power, of a form of government, is involved 
in the fact of the existence of a religious, as it is in that 
of any other society. 

" And not only is a government necessary, but it natu- 
rally forms itself. . . . When events are suffered to follow 
their natural laws, when force does not interfere, power 
falls into the hands of the most able, the most worthy, 
those who are most capable of carrying out the principles 
on which the society was founded. Is a warlike expedi- 
tion in agitation ? The bravest take the command. Is the 
object of the association learned research, or a scientific 
undertaking ? The best informed will be the leader. . . . 
The inequality of faculties and influence, which is the 
foundation of power in civil life, has the same effeot in a 

E 2 

2 ON THE .KINDS OF [<?H. 7. 

religious society. . . Religion has no sooner arisen in the 
human mind than a religious society appears ; and im- 
mediately a religious society is formed, it produces its 
government." 6 


9. It remains to allude to what, unless the word were 
often so vaguely and variously used, I should be led to call 
metapfajtieal developments ; I mean such as are a mere 
analysis of the idea contemplated, and terminate in its 
exact and complete delineation. Thus Aristotle draws the 
character of a magnanimous or of a munificent man ; thus 
Shakspeare might conceive and bring out his Hamlet or 
Ariel ; thus Walter Scott gradually enucleates his James, 
or Dalgetty, as the action of his sfory proceeds ; and thus, 
in the sacred province of theology, the mind may be em- 
ployed in developing the solemn ideas, which it has hitherto 
held implicitly and without subjecting them to its reflect- 
ing and reasoning powers. 

I have already treated of this subject at length, with a 
reference to the highest theological subject, in a former 
work, from which it will be sufficient here to quote some 
sentences in explanation : 

" The mind which is habituated to the thought of God, 
of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, naturally turns with a devout 
curiosity to the contemplation of the object of its adoration, 
and begins to form statements concerning it, before it knows 
whither, or how far, it will be carried. One proposition 
necessarily leads to another, and a second to a third ; then 
some limitation is required ; and the combination of these 
opposites occasions some fresh evolutions from the original 
idea, which indeed can never be said to be entirely ex- 
hausted. This process is its development, and results in 
a series, or rather body, of dogmatic statements, till what 
6 Guizofc, Enrop. Civil, Leek v., Beckwith's Translation. 


was an impression on the Imagination has become a system 
or creed in the Reason. 

" Now suck impressions are obviously individual and 
complete above other theological ideas, because they are 
the impressions of Objects. Ideas and their developments 
are commonly not identical, the development being but 
the carrying out of the idea into its consequences. Thus 
the doctrine of Penance may be .called a development of 
the doctrine of Baptism, yet still is a distinct doctrine ; 
whereas the developments in the "doctrines of the Holy 
Trinity and the Incarnation are mere portions of the 
original impression, and modes of representing it. As God 
Is one, so the impression which He gives us of Himself is 
one ; it is not a thing of parts ; it is not a system ; nor is 
it anything imperfect and needing a counterpart. It is 
the vision of an object. When we pray, we pray, not to 
an assemblage of notions or to a creed, but to One Indi- 
vidual Being ; and when we speak of Him, we speak of a 
Person, not of a Law or Manifest ition . . , Religious men, 
according to their measure, have an idea or vision of the 
Blessed Trinity in Unity, of the Son Incarnate, and of His 
Presence, not as a number of qualities, attributes, and 
actions, not as the subject of a number of propositions, 
but as one and individual, and independent of words, like 
an impression conveyed through the senses .... Creeds 
and dogmas live in the one idea which they are designed 
to express, and which alone is substantive ; and are neces- 
sary, because the human mind cannot reflect upon that idea 
except piecemeal, cannot use it in its oneness and entireness, 
or without resolving it into a series of aspects and rela- 
tions/' 7 


So much on the development of ideas in various subject 
matters : it may be necessary to add that, in many cases, 
1 Uuiv. Serrn. xv. 2023, pp. 329332, ed. 3.] 


development simply stands for exhibition, as in some of the 
instances adduced above. Thus both Calvinism and 
Unitarianism inay be called developments, that is, exhibi- 
tions, of the principle of Private Judgment, though they 
have nothing in common, viewed as doctrines. 

As to Christianity, supposing the truths of which it 
consists to admit of development, that development will be 
one or other of the last five kinds. Taking the Incarna- 
tion as its central doctrine, the Episcopate, as taught by 
St. Ignatius, will be an instance of political, development, 
the Theotokos of logical, the determination of the date of 
our Lord's birth of historical, the Holy Eucharist of moral, 
and the Athanasian Creed of metaphysical. 







1. IF Christianity is a fact, and impresses an idea of itself 
on our minds and is a subject- mat tor of exercises of tlie 
reason, that idea will in course of time expand into a 
multitude of ideas, and aspects of ideas, connected and 
harmonious with one another, and in themselves determinate 
and immutable, as is the objective fact itself which is thus 
represented. It is a characteristic o our minds, that they 
cannot take an object in, which is submitted to them 
simply and integrally. "We conceive by means of defini- 
nition or description; whole objects do not create in the 
intellect whole ideas, but are, to use a mathematical phrase, 
thrown into series, into a number of statements, strengthen- 
ing, interpreting, correcting each other, and with more or 
less exactness approximating, as they accumulate, to a 
perfect image. There is no other way of learning or of 
teaching. "We cannot teach except by aspects or views, 
which are not identical with the thing itself which we are 
teaching. Two persons may each convey the same truth 
to a third, yet by methods and through representations 


altogether different. The same person will treat the same 
argument differently in an essay or speech, according to 
the accident of the day of writing, or of the audience, yet 
it will be substantially the same. 

And the more claim an idea has to be considered living, 
the more various will be its aspects ; and the more social 
and political is its nature, the more complicated and subtle 
will be its issues s and the longer and more eventful will 
be its course. And in^the number of these special ideas, 
which from their very depth and richness cannot be 
fully understood at once, but are more and more clearly 
expressed and taught the longer they last, having aspects 
many and bearings many, mutually connected and grow- 
ing one out of another, and all parts of a whole, with a 
sympathy and correspondence keeping pace with the 
ever-changing necessities of the world, multiform, prolific, 
and ever resourceful, among these great doctrines surely 
we Christians shall not refuse a foremost place to Chris- 
tianity. Such previously to the determination of the fact, 
must be our anticipation concerning it from a contempla- 
tion of its initial achievements. 


It may be objected that its inspired documents at once 
determine the limits of its mission without further trouble ; 
but ideas are in the writer and reader of the revelation' 
not the inspired text itself: and the question is whether 
those ideas which the letter conveys from writer to reader, 
reach the reader at once in their completeness and accuracy 
on his first perception of them, or whether they open out 
in his intellect and grow to perfection in the course of time. 
Kor could it surely be maintained without extravagance 
that the letter of the New Testament, or of any assignable 
number of books, comprises a delineation of all possible 


forms which, a divine message will assume when submitted 
to a multitude of minds. 

Nor is the case altered by supposing that inspiration 
provided in behalf of the first recipients of the Revelation, 
what the Divine Fiat effected for herbs and plants in the 
beginning, which were created in maturity. Still, the 
time at length came, when its recipients ceased to be 
inspired ; and on these recipients the revealed truths would 
fall, as in other cases, at first vaguely and generally, 
though in spirit and in truth, and would afterwards be 
completed by developments. 

Nor can it fairly be made a difficulty that thus to treat 
of Christianity is to level it in some sort to sects and 
doctrines of the world^and to impute to it the imperfections 
which characterize the productions of man. Certainly it 
is a sort of degradation of a divine work to consider it 
under an earthly form ; but it is no irreverence, since our 
Lord Himself, its Author and Guardian, bore one also. 
Christianity differs from other religions and philosophies, 
in what is superadded to earth from heaven ; not in kind, 
but in origin ; not in its nature, but in its personal 
characteristics ; being informed and quickened by what is 
more than intellect, by a divine spirit. It is externally 
what the Apostle calls an "earthen vessel," being the 
religion of men. And, considered as such, it grows " in 
wisdom and stature ;" but the powers which it wields, and 
the words which proceed out of its mouth, attest its 
miraculous nativity. 

Unless then some special ground of exception can be 
assigned, it is as evident that Christianity, as a doctrine 
and worship, will develope in the minds of recipients, as 
that it conforms in other respects, in its external propaga- 
tion or its political framework, to the general methods by 
which the course of things is carried forward. 



2. Again, if Christianity be an universal religion, suited 
not simply to one locality or period, but to all times and 
places, it cannot but vary in its relations and dealings 
towards the world around it, that is, it will develope. 
Principles require a very various application according as 
persons and circumstances vary, and must be thrown into 
new shapes according to the form of society which they 
are to influence. Hence all bodies of Christians, orthodox 
or not, devclopo the doctrines of Scripture. Few but will 
grant that Luther's view of justification had never been 
stated in "words before his time: that his phraseology 
and his positions were novel, whether called for by 
circumstances or not. It is equally certain that the 
doctrine of justification defined at Trent was, in some 
sense, new also. The refutation and remedy of errors 
cannot precede their rise ; and thus the fact of false 
developments or corruptions involves the correspondent 
manifestation of true ones. Moreover, all parties appeal to 
Scripture, that is, argue from Scripture; but argument 
implies deduction, that is, development. Here there is no 
difference between early times and late, between a Pope e% 
cathedra and an individual Protestant, except that their 
authority is not on a par. On either side the claim of 
authority is the same, and the process of development. 

Accordingly, the common complaint of Protestants against 
the Church of Rome is, not simply that she has added to 
the primitive or the Scriptural doctrine, (for this they do 
themselves,) but that she contradicts it, and moreover 
imposes her additions as fundamental truths under sanction 
of an anathema. For themselves they deduce by quite as 
subtle a method, and act upon doctrines as implicit and on 
reasons as little analyzed in time past, as Catholic schoolmen. 
What prominence has the Royal Supremacy in the New 


Testament, or the lawfulness of bearing arms, or tlie 
duty of public worship, or the substitution of the first day 
of the week for the seventh, or infant baptism, to say 
nothing of the fundamental principle that the 'Bible and 
the Bible only is the religion of Protestants? These 
doctrines and usages, true or not, which is not the question 
here, are surely not gained by the direct use and immediate 
application of Scripture, nor by a mere exercise of argu- 
ment upon words and sentences placed before the eyes, 
but by the unconscious growth of ideas suggested by the 
letter and habitual to the mind. 


3. And, indeed, when we turn to the consideration oJ 
particular doctrines on which Scripture lays the greatest 
stress, we shall see that it is absolutely impossible for them 
to remain in the mere letter of Scripture, if they are to be 
more than mere words, and to convey a definite idea tc 
the recipient. When it is declared that " the "Word 
became flesh/ * three wide questions open upon us on the 
very announcement What is meant by "the Word," 
what by " flesh/' what by " became " ? The answers to 
these involve a process of investigation, and are develop- 
ments. Moreover, when they have been made, they will 
suggest a series of secondary questions ; and thus at length 
a multitude of propositions is the result, which gather 
round the inspired sentence of which they come, giving it 
externally the form of a doctrine, and creating or deepen- 
ing the idea of it in the mind. 

It is true that, so far as such statements of Scripture 
ure mysteries, 'they are relatively to us but words, and 
cannot be developed. But as a mystery implies in part 
what is incomprehensible or at least unknown, so does it 
in part imply what is not so ; it implies a partial mani- 
festation, or a representation by economy. Because ther 


it is In a measure understood, it can so far be developed, 
though each result in the process will partake of the 
dimness and confusion of the original impression, 


4. Tins moreover should be considered, that great 
questions exist in the subject-matter of which Scripture 
treats, which Scripture does not solve , questions too so 
real, so practical, that they must be answered, and, unless 
we suppose a new revelation, answered by means of the 
revelation which we have, that is, by development. Such 
is the question of the Canon of Scripture and its inspira- 
tion : that is, whether Christianity depends upon a written 
document as Judaism ; if so, on what writings and how 
many ; whether that document iS self-interpreting, or 
requires a comment, and whether any authoritative com- 
ment or commentator is provided ; whether the revelation 
and the document are commensurate, or the one outruns 
the other ; all these questions surely find no solution on 
the surface of Scripture, nor indeed under the surface in 
the case of most men, however long and diligent might be 
their study of it. Nor were these difficulties settled by 
authority, as far as we know, at the commencement of 
the religion; yet surely it is quite conceivable that an 
Apostle might have dissipated them all in a few words, 
had Divine Wisdom thought fit But in matter of fact 
the decision has been left to time, to the slow process of 
thought, to the influence of mind upon mind, the issues of 
controversy, and the growth of opinion. 


To take another instance just now referred to : if there 
was a point on which a rule was desirable from the first, 
it was concerning the religious duties under which Chris- 
tian parents lay as regards their children. It would be 


natural indeed in any Christian father, in tlie absence of 
a rule, to bring his children, for "baptism ; such in this 
instance would he the practical development of his faith 
in Christ and love for his offspring ; still a development it 
is, necessarily required, yet, as far as we know, not 
provided for his need hy direct precept in the Revelation 
as originally given. 

Another very large field of thought, full of practical 
considerations, yet, as far as our knowledge goes, hut only 
partially occupied hy any Apostolical judgment, is that 
which the question of the effects of Baptism opens upon 
us. That they who came in repentance and faith to that 
Holy Sacrament received remission of sins, is undoubtedly 
the doctrine of the Apostles ; hut is there any means of a 
second remission for sins committed after it ? St. Paulas 
Epistles, where we might expect an answer to our inquiry, 
contain no explicit statement on the subject ; what they 
do plainly say dees not diminish the difficulty: viz., 
first, that baptism is intended for the pardon of sins before 
ifc, not in prospect ; next, that those who have received the 
gift of Baptism in fact live in, a state of holiness, not of 
sin. How do statements such as these meet the actual 
state of the Church as we see it at this day ? 

Considering that it was expressly predicted that the 
Kingdom of Heaven, like the fisher's net, should gather of 
every kind, and that the tares should grow with the wheat 
until the harvest, a graver and more practical question 
cannot be imagined than that which it has pleased the 
Divine Author of the Eevelation to leave undecided, un- 
less indeed there be means given in that Revelation of its 
own growth or development. As far as the letter goes of the 
inspired message, every one who holds that Scripture is 
the rule of faith, as all Protestants do, must allow that 
"there is not one of us but has exceeded by transgression 
its revealed Ritual, and finds himself in consequence 



thrown upon those infinite resources of Divine Love which 
are stored in Christ, but have not been drawn out into 
form in the appointments of the Gospel." 1 Since then 
Scripture needs completion, the question is brought to this 
issue, whether defect or inchoateness in its doctrines be or 
be. not an antecedent probability in favour of a development 

of them. 


There is another subject, though not so immediately 
practical, on which Scripture does not, strictly speaking, 
keep silence, but says so little as to require, and so 
much as to suggest, information beyond its letter, 
the intermediate state between death and the Resurrec- 
tion. Considering the long interval which separates 
Christ's first and second coming, the millions of faithful 
souls who are waiting it out, and the intimate concern 
which every Christian has in the determination of its 
character, it might have been expected that Scripture 
would have spoken explicitly concerning it, whereas^in 
fact its notices are but brief and obscure. We might in- 
deed have argued that this silence of Scripture was inten- 
tional, with a view of discouraging speculations upon the 
subject, except for the circumstance that, as in the question 
of our post-baptismal state, its teaching seems to proceed 
upon an hypothesis inapplicable to the state of the Church 
after the time when it was delivered. As Scripture contem- 
plates Christians, not as backsliders, but as saints, so does 
it apparently represent the Day of Judgment as imme- 
diate, and the interval of expectation as evanescent. It 
leaves on our minds the general impression that Christ was 
returning on earth at once, "the time short/' worldly 
engagements superseded by " the present distress," perse- 
cutors urgent, Christians, as a body, sinless and expectant, 
without home, without plan for the future, looking up to 
1 Doctrine of Justification, Lect. xiii. 


heaven. But outward circumstances have changed, and 
with the change, a different application of the revealed 
word has of necessity been demanded, that is, a development. 
When the nations were converted and offences abounded, 
then the Church came out to view, on the one hand as 
a temporal establishment, on the other as a remedial 
system, and passages of Scripture aided and directed the 
development which before were of inferior account. Hence 
the doctrine of Penance as the complement of Baptism, 
and of Purgatory as the explanaticn of the Intermediate 
State. So reasonable is this expansion of the origin^ 
creed, that, when some ten years since the true doctrine 
of Baptisfn was expounded among us without any men- 
tion of Penance, our teacher was accused by many of us 
of Novatianism ; while, on the other hand, heterodox 
divines have before now advocated the doctrine of the 
sleep of the soul because they said it was the only success- 
ful preventive of belief in Purgatory. 


Thus developments of Christianity are proved to have 
been in the contemplation of its Divine Author, by an 
argument parallel to that by which we infer intelligence 
in & the system of the physical world. In whatever sense 
the need and its supply are a proof of design in the visible 
creation, in the same do the gaps, if the word may be 
used, which occur in the structure of the original creed of 
the Church, make it probable that those developments, 
which grow out of the truths which lie around it, were 
intended to fill them up. 

Nor can it be fairly objected that in thus arguing we 
are contradicting the great philosopher, who tells us, that 
upon supposition of God affording us light and instruction 
by revelation, additional to what He has afforded us by 
reason and experience, we are in no sort judges by what 


methods, and in what proportion, it were to be expected that 
this supernatural light and instruction would be afforded 
us," 2 because he is speaking of our judging before a revela- 
tion is given. He observes that "we have no principles of 
reason upon which to judge beforehand, how it were to be 
expected Revelation should have been left, or what was 
most suitable to the divine plan of government/' in various 
respects ; but the case is altogether altered when a Reve- 
lation is vouchsafed, for then a new precedent, or what he 
calls "principle of reason," is introduced, and from what 
is actually put into our hands we can form a judgment 
whether more is to be expected. Butler, indeed, as a 
well-known passage of his work shows, is far from denying 
the principle of progressive development, 


5. The method of revelation observed in Scripture 
abundantly confirms this anticipation. For instance. 
Prophecy, if it had so happened, need not have afforded 
a specimen of development ; separate predictions might 
have been made to accumulate as time went on, prospects- 
might have opened, definite knowledge might have been 
given, by communications independent of each other, as. 
St. John's Gospel or the Epistles of St. Paul are uncon- 
nected with the first three Gospels, though the doctrine of 
each Apostle is a development of their matter. But the 
prophetic Revelation is, in matter of fact, not of this 
nature, but a process of development : the earlier pro- 
phecies are pregnant texts out of which the succeeding 
announcements grow ; they are types. It is not that first 
one truth is told, then another ; but the whole truth or 
large portions of it are told at once, yet only in their rudi- 
ments, -or in miniature, and they are expanded and 
finished in their parts, as the course of revelation proceeds, 

2 Butter's Anal ii. 3. 


The Seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head ; 
the sceptre was not to depart from Judah till Shiloh came, 
to whom was to be the gathering of the people. He was 
to be "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Prince of Peace. The 
question of the Ethiopian rises in the reader's mind, " Of 
whom speaketh the Prophet this ? " Every word requires 
a comment. Accordingly, it is no uncommon theory with 
unbelievers, that the Messianic idea, as they call it, was 
gradually developed in the minds of the Jews by a con- 
tinuous and traditional habit of contemplating it, and grew 
into its full proportions by a mere human process ; and so 
far seems certain, without trenching on the doctrine of 
inspiration, that the books of "Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus 
are developments of the writings of the Prophets, expressed 
or elicited by means of current ideas in the Greek philo- 
sophy, a!nd ultimately adopted and ratified by the Apostle 
in his Epistle to the Hebrews. 


But the whole Bible, not its prophetical portions only, 
is written on the principle of development. As -the Beve- 
lation proceeds, it is ever new, yet ever old. St. John, 
who completes it, declares that he writes no " new com- 
mandment unto his brethren/' but an old commandment 
which they "had from the 'beginning/ 7 And then he 
adds, "A new commandment I write unto you/ 3 The 
same test of development is suggested in our Lord's words, 
on the Mount, as has already been noticed, " Think not 
that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets ; I 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil/' He does not 
reverse, but perfect, what has gone before. Thus with 
respect to the evangelical view of the rite of sacrifice, first 
the rite is enjoined by Moses ; next Samuel says, " to 
obey is better than sacrifice ;" then Hosea, " I will have 
mercy and not sacrifice f Isaiah, ' e Incense is an abomi- 


nation unto me ;" then Malachi, describing the times of 
the Gospel, speaks of the " pure off-ring" of wheatflour; 
and oin* Lord completes the development, when He speaks 
of worshipping " in spirit and in truth.'* If there is any- 
thing here It ft to exphin, it will b3 found in the usage 
of the Christian Church immediately afterwards, which 
shows that sacrifice was not removed, but truth and spirit 

Nay, t ho tjRtft/ of our Lord and His Apostles are of a 
typical stnietinv, puruHel to the prophetic announcements 
above mentioned, and predictions as well as injunctions of 
doctrine. If then the prophetic sentences have had that 
development which has really been given them, first by 
sum'wihisr re vela f ions, and then by the event, it is pro- 
la! !< auK'ceJently that those doctrinal, political, ritual, 
and ethical sentences, which have the same structure, 
feuould admit the same expansion. Such are, "This is 
My Body," or " Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I 
will build My Church," or " The meek shall inherit the 
earth," or <* Suffer little children to come unto Me," or 
" The pure in heart shall see God.'* 


On this character of our Lord's teaching, the following 
passage may suitably be quoted from a writer already used. 
" His recorded words and works when on earth . . . come 
to us as the declarations of a Lawgiver. In the Old Cove- 
nant, Almighty Clod first of all .spoke the Ten Command- 
ments from Mount Wiiui, and afterwards wrote them. So 
our Lord first spoke His own Gospel, both of promise and of 
precept, on the Mount, and His Evangelists have recorded 
it. Further, when He delivered it, He spoke by way 
of parallel to the Ten Commandments. And His style, 
moreover, corresponds to the authority which He assumes! 
It is of that solemn, measured, and severe character, which 


bears on the face of it tokens of its belonging to One who 
spake as none other man ccmld speak. The Beatitudes, 
with which His Sermon opens, are an instance of this 
incommunicable style, which befitted, as far as human 
words could befit, God Incarnate. 

" KTor is this style peculiar to the Sermon on the Mount. 
All through the Gospels it is discernible, distinct from 
any other part of Scripture, showing itself in solemn 
declarations, canons, sentences, orjsayings, such, as legis- 
lators propound, and scribes and lawyers comment on. 
Surely everything our Saviour did and said is characterized 
by mingled simplicity and mystery. His emblematical 
actions, His typical miracles, His parables, His replies, 
His censures, all are evidences of a legislature in germ, 
afterwards to be developed, a code of divine truth which 
was ever to be before men's eyes, to be the subject of 
investigation and interpretation, and the guide in con- 
troversy. 'Verily, verily, I say unto you/ 'But. I say 
unto you,' are the tokens of a supreme Teacher and ' 

"And thus the Fathers speak of His teaching. 'His 
sayings/ observes St. Justin, ' were short and concise; 
for He was no rhetorician, but His word was the power 
of God.' And St. Basil, in like manner, ' Every deed and 
every word of our Saviour Jesus Christ is a canon of 
piety and virtue. When then thou hearest word or deed 
of His, do not hear it as by the way, or after a simple and 
carnal manner, but enter into the depth of His contempla- 
tions, become a communicant in truths mystically delivered 
tothee.'" 3 


Moreover, while it is certain that developments of 
Revelation proceeded all through the Old Dispensation 
8 PiOph. Office, Lecfc. xii. [Via Med. vol. i. pp. 292-3} 

v 2 


down to the very end of our Lord's ministry, on the other 
hand, if we turn our attention to the beginnings of Apos- 
tolical teaching after His ascension, we shall find ourselves 
unable to fix an historical point at which the growth of 
doctrine ceased, and the rule of faith was once for all 
settled. Not on the day of Pentecost, for St. Peter had 
still to learn at Joppa that he was to baptize Cornelius ; 
not at Joppa and Csesarea, for St. Paul had to write his 
Epistles; not on the death of the last Apostle, for St. 
Ignatius had to establish the doctrine of Episcopacy ; not 
then, nor for centuries after, for the Canon of the New Tes- 
tament was still undetermined. Not in the Creed, which 
is no collection of definitions, but a summary of certain 
credent? a, an incomplete summary, and, like the Lord's 
Prayer or the Decalogue, a mere sample of divine truths, 
especially of the more elementary, No one doctrine can 
be named winch starts complete at first, and gains nothing 
afterwards from the investigations of faith and the attacks 
of heresy. The Church went forth from the old world in 
haste, as the Israelites from Egypt "with their dough 
before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound 
up in their clothes upon their shoulders/' 


Further, the political developments contained in the 
historical parts of Scripture are as striking as the pro- 
phetical and the doctrinal. Can any history wear a more 
human appearance than that of the rise and growth of the 
chosen people to whom I have just referred ? What had 
been determined in the counsels of the Lord of heaven and 
earth from the beginning, what was immutable, what was 
announced to Moses in the burning bush, is afterwards 
represented as the growth of an idea under successive 
emergencies. The Divine Voice in the bush had announced 
the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt and their 


entrance into Canaan ; and added, as a token of the cer- 
tainty of His purpose, " When, tliou hast brought forth 
the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this 
mountain. 1 " Now this sacrifice or festival, which was but 
incidental and secondary in the great deliverance, is for a 
while the ultimate scope of the demands which Moses 
makes upon Pharaoh. " Thou shalt come, thou and the 
elders of Israel unto the King of Egypt, and ye shall 
say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met 
with us, and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' 
journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the 
Lord our God/' It had been added that Pharaoh would 
first refuse their request, but that after miracles he would 
let them go altogether, nay with "jewels of silver and 
gold, and raiment." 

Accordingly the first request of Moses was, " Let us go, 
we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacri- 
fice unto the Lord our God." Before the plague of frogs 
the warning is repeated, "Let My people go that they 
may serve Me ;" and after it Pharaoh says, " I will let the 
people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord." It 
occurs again before the plague of flies ; and after it 
Pharaoh offers to let the Israelites sacrifice in Egypt, 
which Moses refuses on the ground that they will have to 
" sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their- 
eyes." " We will go three days* journey into the wilder- 
ness/' he proceeds, " and sacrifice to the Lord our God ;" 
and Pharaoh then concedes their sacrificing in the wilder- 
ness, " only/' he says, "you shall not go very far away." 
The demand is repeated separately before the plagues of 
murrain, hail, and locusts, no mention being yet made of 
anything beyond a service or saciifice in the wilderness. 
On the last of these interviews, Pharaoh asks an explana- 
tion, and Moses extends his claim : " We will go with our 
,,3'oung and with our old, with our sons and with, our 


daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go, 
for we must hold a feast unto the Lord." That it was an 
extension seems plain from Pharaoh's reply : " Go now ye 
that are men, and serve the Lord, for that ye did desire." 
Upon the plague of darkness Pharaoh concedes the ex- 
tended demand, excepting the flocks and herds; hut 
Moses reminds him that they were implied, though not 
expressed in the original wording : tf Thou must give us 
also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice 
unto the Lord our God?" Even to the last, there was no 
intimation of their leaving Egypt for good ; the issue was 
left to be wrought out by the Egyptians. " All these thy 
servants," says Moses, " shall come down unto me, and 
bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out and all 
the people that follow thee, and after that I will go out ;" 
and, accordingly, after the judgment on the first-born, they 
were thrust out at midnight, with their flocks and herds, 
their kneading troughs and their dough, laden, too, with 
the spoils of Egypt, as had been fore-ordained, yet ap- 
parently by a combination of circumstances, or the com- 
plication of a crisis. Yet Moses knew that their departure 
from Egypt was final, for he took the bones of Joseph with 
him ; and that conviction broke on Pharaoh soon, when 
he and his asked themselves, " Why have we done this, 
that we have let Israel go from serving us ? " But this 
progress of events, vague and uncertain as it seemed to be, 
notwithstanding the miracles which attended it, had been 
directed by Him who works out gradually what He has 
determined absolutely ; and it ended in the parting of the 
Bed Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh's host, on his 
pursuing them. 

Moreover, from what occurred forty years afterwards, 
when they were advancing upon the promised land, it 
would seem that the original grant of territory did not 
include the country east of Jordan, held in the event by 


Reuben, Gad,, and half the tribe of Uanasseli ; at least 
they undertook at first to leave Sihon in undisturbed 
possession of his country, if he would let them pass 
through it, and only on his refusing his permission did 
they invade and appropriate it. 


6. It is in point to notice also the structure and style of 
Scripture, a structure so unsystematic and various, and a 
style so figurative and indirect, that no one would presume 
at first sight to say what is in it and what is not. It can- 
not, as it were, be mapped, or its contents catalogued ; but 
after all our diligence, to the end of our lives and to the 
end of the Church, it must be an unexplored and unsub- 
dued land, with heights and valleys, forests and streams, on 
the right and left of our path and close about us, full of 
concealed wonders and choice treasures. Of no doctrine 
whatever, which does not actually contradict what has been 
delivered, can it be peremptorily asserted that it is not in 
Scripture ; of no reader, whatever be his study of it, can it 
be said that he has mastered every doctrine which it con- 
tains. Butler's remarks on this subject were just now 
referred to. ee The more distinct and particular know- 
ledge," he says, " of those things, the study of which the 
Apostle calls ( going on unto perfection/ " that is, of the 
more recondite doctrines of the Gospel, (C and of the pro- 
phetic parts of revelation, like many parts of natural and 
even civil knowledge, may require very exact thought and 
careful consideration. The hindrances too of natural and 
of supernatural light and knowledge have been of the same 
kind. And as it is owned the whole scheme of Scripture 
is not yet understood, so, if it ever comes to be understood, 
before the ' restitution of all things/ and without miracu- 
lous interpositions, it must be in the same way as natural 
knowledge is come at, by the continuance and progress of 


learning and of liberty, and by particular persons attend- 
ing to, comparing and pursuing intimations scattered up 
and down it, which are overlooked and disregarded by the 
generality of the world. For this is the way in which all 
improvements are made, by thoughtful men tracing on 
obscure hints, as it were, dropped us by nature accidentally, 
or which seem to come into our minds by chance. Nor is 
it at all incredible that a book, which has been so long in the 
possession of mankind >f shoulcl contain many truths as yet 
undiscovered. For all the same phenomena, and the same 
faculties of investigation, from which such great discoveries 
in natural knowledge have been made in the present and 
last age, were equally in the possession of mankind several 
thousand years before. And possibly it might be intended 
that events, as they come to pass, should open and ascer- 
tain the meaning of several parts of Scripture/' 4 Butler 
of course was not contemplating the case of new articles 
of faith, or developments imperative on our acceptance, but 
he surely bears witness to the probability of developments 
taking place in Christian doctrine considered in themselves, 
which is the point at present in question. 


It may be added that, in matter of fact, all the defini- 
tions or received judgments of the early and medieval 
Church rest upon definite, even though sometimes obscure 
sentences of Scripture. Thus Purgatory may appeal to 
the " saving by fire/* and <c entering through much tribu- 
lation into the kingdom of God f the communication of 
the merits of the Saints to our " receiving a prophet's 
reward" for "receiving a prophet in the name of a 
prophet," and " a righteous man's reward " for " receiving 
a righteous man in the name of a righteous man ;" the 
Real Presence to "This is My Body;" Absolution to 
< ii. 3 ; Tide also ii. 4, fin. 


ts Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted ;" Extreme 
Unction to " Anointing him with oil in the Name of the 
Lord ;" Voluntary poverty to " Sell all that thou hast ;" 
obedience to " He was in subjection to His parents ;" the 
.honour paid to creatures, animate or inanimate 9 toLaudate 
Dominum in sanctis Ejus, and Adorate scabellum pedum Ejus ; 
and so of the rest. 


7. Lastly, while Scripture nowhere recognizes itself or 
asserts the inspiration of those passages which are most 
essential, it distinctly anticipates the development o 
Christianity, both as a polity and as a doctrine. In one 
of our Lord's parables " the Kingdom of Heaven " is even 
compared to " a grain of mustard- seed, which a man took 
and hid in his field ; .which indeed is the least of all seeds, 
but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and 
becometh a tree/' and, as St. Mark words it, " shooteth 
out great branches, so that the birds of the air come and 
lodge in the branches thereof/' And again, in the same 
chapter of St. Mark, " So is the kingdom of God, as if a 
man should cast seed into the ground, and should sleep, , 
and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and 
grow up, he knoweth not how ; for the earth bringeth 
forth fruit of herself." Here an internal element of life, 
whether principle or doctrine, is spoken of rather than 
any mere external manifestation; and it is observable 
that the spontaneous, as well as the gradual, character of 
the growth is intimated. This description of the process 
corresponds to what has been above observed respecting 
development, viz. tLat it is not an effect of wishing and 
resolving, or of forced enthusiasm, or of any mechanism 
of reasoning, or of any mere subtlety of intellect; but 
comes of its own innate power of expansion within the 
mind in its season, though with the use of reflection and 


argument and original thought, more or less as it may 
happen, with a dependence on the ethical growth of the 
mind itself, and with a reflex influence upon it. Again, 
the Parable of the Leaven describes the development oi 
doctrine in another respect, in its active, engrossing, and 
interpenetrating power. 


From the necessity, $hen, of the case, from the history 
of all sects and parties in religion, and from the analogy 
and example of Scripture, we may fairly conclude that 
Christian doctrine admits of formal, legitimate, and true 
developments, that is, of developments contemplated by its 
Divine Author. 

The general analogy of the world, physical and moral, 
confirms this conclusion, as we arc reminded by the great 
authority who has already been ([ noted in the course of 
this Section. tf The whole natural world and government 
of it," says Butler, " is a scheme or system ; not a fixed, 
but a progressive one; a scheme in which the operation 
of various means takes up a great length of time before the 
ends they tend to can be attained. The change of seasons, 
the ripening of the fruits of the earth, the very history of 
a flower is an instance of this ; . and so is human life. 
Thus vegetable bodies, and those of animals, though 
possibly formed at once, yet grow up by degrees to a 
mature state. And thus rational agents, who animate 
these latter bodies, are naturally directed to form each his 
own manners and character by the gradual gaining of 
knowledge and experience, and by a long course of action. 
Our existence is not only successive, as it must be of 
necessity, but one state of our life and being is appointed 
by God to be a preparation, for another ; and that to be 
the means of attaining to another succeeding one : infancy 
to childhood, childhool to youth, youth to mature a^e. 


Men are impatient, and for precipitating things ; but the 
Author of Nature appears deliberate throughout His 
operations, accomplishing His natural ends by slow suc- 
cessive steps. And there is a plan of things beforehand 
laid out, which, from the nature of it, requires various 
systems of means, as well as length of time, in order to the 
carrying on its several parts into execution. Thus, in the 
daily course of natural providence, God operates in the 
very same manner as in the dispensation of Christianity, 
making one thing subservient to another ; this, to some- 
what farther ; and so on, through a progressive scries of 
means, which extend, both backward and forward, beyond 
our utmost view. Of this manner of operation, everything 
we see in the course of nature is as much an instance as 
any part of the Christian dispensation." 5 



It has now been made probable that developments of 
Christianity were but natural, as time went on, and were 
to be expected ; and that these natural and true develop- 
ments, as being natural and true, were of course con- 
templated and taken into account by its Author, who in 
designing the work designed its legitimate results. These, 
whatever they turn out to be, may be called absolutely 
" the developments " of Christianity. That, beyond reason- 
able doubt, there are such is surely a great step gained in 
the inquiry ; it is a momentous fact. The next question 
is, What are they ? and to a theologian, who could take 
a ^eneral view, and also possessed an intimate and minute 
5 Analogy, ii. 4, ad Jin. 


knowledge, of its history, they would doubtless on the 
whole be easily distinguishable by their own characters, 
and require no foreign aid to point them out, no external 
authority to ratify them. But it is difficult to say who is 
exactly in this position. Considering that Christians, from 
the nature of the case, live under the bias of the doctrines, 
and in the very midst of the facts, and during the process 
of the controversies, which are to be the subject of criticism, 
since they are exposed to the prejudices of birth, education, 
place, personal attachment, engagements, and party, it can 
hardly be maintained that in matter of fact a true develop- 
ment carries with it always its own certainty even to the 
learned, or that history, past or present, is secure from the 
possibility of a variety of interpretations. 


I have already spoken on this subject, and from a very 
different point of view from that which I am taking at 
present : 

" Prophets or Doctors are the interpreters of the reve- 
lation ; they unfold and define its mysteries, they illumi- 
nate its documents, they harmonize its contents, they apply 
its promises. Their teaching is a vast system, not to be 
comprised in a few sentences, not to be embodied in one 
code or treatise, but consisting of a certain body of Truth, 
pervading the Church like an atmosphere, irregular in its 
shape from its very profusion and exuberance ; at times 
separable only in idea from Episcopal Tradition, yet at 
times melting away into legend and fable ; partly written, 
partly unwritten, partly the interpretation, partly the 
supplement of Scripture, partly preserved in intellectual 
expressions, partly latent in the spirit and temper of 
Christians ; poured to and fro in closets and upon the 
housetops, in liturgies, in controversial works, in obscure 
fragments, in sermons, in popular prejudices, in local 


customs. This I call Prophetical Tradition, existing 
primarily in the bosom of the Church itself, and recorded 
in such measure as Providence has determined in tho 
writings of eminent men. Keep that which is committed 
to thy charge, is St. Paul's injunction to Timothy ; and 
for this reason, because from its vastness and indefiniteness 
it is especially exposed to corruption, if the Church fails in 
vigilance. This is that body of teaching which is offered 
to all Christians even at the present day, though in various 
forms and measures of truth, in different parts of Christen- 
dom, partly bein a comment, partly an addition upon the 
articles of the Creed." 6 

If this be true, certainly some rule is necessary for 
arranging and authenticating these various expressions 
and results of Christian doctrine. No one will maintain 
that all points of belief are of equal importance. " There 
are what may be called minor points, which we may hold 
to be true without imposing them as necessary ; " " there 
are greater truths and lesser truths, points which it is 
necessary, and points which it is pious to believe." 7 The 
simple question is, How are we to discriminate the greater 
from the less, the true from the false* 


This need of an authoritative sanction is increased by 
considering, after M. Guizot's suggestion, that Christianity, 
though represented in prophecy as a kingdom, came into 
the world as an idea rather than an institution, and has 
had to wrap itself in clothing and fit itself with armour of 
its own providing, and to form the instruments and methods 
of its prosperity and warfare. If the developments, which 
have above been called moral, are to take place to any great 
extent, and without them it is difficult to see how Chris- 
tianity can exist at all, if only its relations towards civil 

e Propb. Office, x. [Via Med. p. 250]. 7 [Ibid. pp. 247, 254.] 


government have to be ascertained, or the qualifications 
for the profession of it have to be defined, surely an 
authority is necessary to impart decision to what is vague, 
and confidence to what is empirical, to ratify the successive 
steps of so elaborate a process, and to secure the validity 
of inferences which are to be made the premisses of more 
remote investigations. 

Tests, it is true, for ascertaining the correctness of 
developments in general may be drawn out, as I shall show 
in the sequel ; but they are insufficient for the guidance of 
individuals in the case of so large and complicated a pro- 
blem, as Christianity, though they may aid our inquiries 
and support our conclusions in particular points. They 
are of a scientific and controversial, not of a practical 
character, and are instruments rather than warrants of 
right decisions. Moreover, they rather serve as answers 
to objections brought against the actual decisions of autho- 
rity, than are proofs of the correctness of those decisions. 
While, then, on the one hand, it is probable that some 
means will be granted for ascertaining the legitimate and 
true developments of Revelation, it appears, on the other, 
that these means must of necessity be external to the deve- 
lopments themselves. 

Beasons shall be given in this Section for concluding 
that, in proportion to the probability of true developments 
of doctrine and practice in the Divine Scheme, so is the 
probability also of the appointment in that scheme of an 
external authority to decide upon them, thereby separating 
them from the mass of mere human speculation, extrava- 
gance, corruption, and error, in and out of which they 
grow. This is the doctrine of the infallibility of 'the 
Church ; for .by infallibility I suppose is meant the power 


of deciding whether this, that, and a third, and any 
number of theological or ethical statements are true. 


1. Let the state of the case be carefully considered. If 
the Christian doctrine, as originally taught, admits of true 
and important developments, as was argued in the foregoing 
Section, this is a strong antecedent argument in favour of 
a provision in the Dispensation for putting a seal of authority 
upon those developments. The probability of their being 
known to be true varies with that of their truth. The 
two ideas indeed are quite distinct, I grant, of revealing 
and of guaranteeing a truth, and they are often distinct in 
fact. There are various revelations all over the earth 
which do not carry with them the evidence of their divinity. 
Such are the inward suggestions and secret illuminations 
granted to so many individuals ; such are the traditionary 
doctrines which are found among the heathen, that " vague 
and unconnected family of religious truths, originally from 
God, but sojourning, without the sanction of miracle or a 
definite home, as pilgrims up and down the world, and 
discernible and separable from the corrupt legends with 
which they are mixed, by the spiritual mind alone." 8 
There is nothing impossible in the notion of a revelation 
occurring without evidences that it is a revelation ; just as 
human sciences are a divine gift, yet are reached by our 
ordinary powers and have no claim on our faith. But 
Christianity is not of this nature : it is a revelation which 
comes to us as a revelation, as a whole, objectively, and 
with a profession of infallibility ; and the only question to 
be determined relates to the matter of the revelation. If 
then there are certain great truths, or duties, or ob- 
servances, naturally and legitimately resulting from the 
doctrines originally professed, it is but reasonable to include 
s Arians, ch. i. sect, 3 [p. 82, ed. 3], 


these true results in the idea of the revelation itself, to 
consider them parts of it, and if the revelation be not only 
true, but guaranteed as true, to anticipate that they too 
will come under the privilege of that guarantee. Chris- 
tianity, unlike other revelations of God's will, except the 
Jewish, of which it is a continuation, is an objective religion, 
or a revelation with credentials ; it is natural, I say, to 
view it wholly as such, and not partly sui generis, partly 
like others. Such as it begins, such let it be considered to 
continue; granting tlmt certain large developments of it 
are true, they must surely be accredited as true. 


2. An objection, however, is offcen made to the doctrine 
of infallibility in limine, which is too important not to be 
taken into consideration. It is urged that, as all religious 
knowledge rests on moral evidence, not on demonstration, 
our belief in the Church's infallibility must be of this 
character ; but what can be more absurd than a probable 
infallibility, or a certainty resting on doubt ? I believe, 
because I am sure ; and I am sure, because I suppose. 
Granting then that the gift of infallibility be adapted, 
when believed, to unite all intellects in one common con- 
fession, the fact that it is given is as difficult of proof as the 
developments which it is to prove, and nugatory therefore, 
and in consequence improbable in a Divine Scheme. The 
advocates of Eome, it has been urged, *' insist on the 
necessity of an infallible guide in religious matters, as an 
argument that such a guide has really been accorded. 
Now it is obvious to inquire how individuals are to know 
with certainty that Eome is infallible . . . how any 
ground can be such as to, bring home to the mind infallibly 
that she is infallible ; what conceivable proof amounts to 
more than a probability of the fact ; and what advantage 
is an infallible guide, if those who are to be guided have, 


after all, no more than an opinion, as the Romanists call 
it, that she is infallible ? " 9 


This argument, however, except when used, as is in- 
tended in this passage, against such persons as would 
remove all imperfection in the proof of Religion, is certainly 
a fallacious one. For since, as all allow, the Apostles were 
infallible, it tells against their infallibility, or the infalli- 
bility of Scripture, as truly as against the infallibility of 
the Church ; for no one will say that the Apostles were 
made infallible for nothing, yet we are only morally certain 
that they were infallible. Further, if we have but proba- 
ble grounds for the Church's infallibility, we have but the 
like for the impossibility of certain things, the necessity of 
othersj the truth, the certainty of others ; and therefore 
the words infallibility, necessity, truth, and certainty ought 
all of them to be banished from the language. But why 
is it more inconsistent to speak of an uncertain infallibility 
than of a doubtful truth or a contingent necessity, phrases 
which present ideas clear and undeniable ? In sooth we 
are playing with words when we use arguments of this 
sort. When we say that a person is infallible, we mean 
no more than that what he says is always true, always to be 
believed, always to be done/ The term is resolvable into 
these phrases as its equivalents ; either then the phrases 
are inadmissible, or the idea of infallibility must be allowed. 
A probable infallibility is a probable gift of never erring ; 
a reception of the doctrine of a probable infallibility is 
faith and obedience towards a person founded on the 
probability of his never erring in his declarations or com- 
mands. What is inconsistent in this idea ? Whatever 
then be the particular means of determining infallibility, 
the abstract objection may be put aside. 1 

Proph. Office [Via Med. vol. i. p. 122]. 

i [" It is very coinmoa to confuse infallibility w'tb certitude, but the two 




3. Again, it is sometimes argued that such a dispensa- 
tion would destroy our probation, as dissipating doubt, 
precluding the exercise of faith, and obliging us to obey 
whether we wish it or no ; and it is urged that a Divine 
"Voice spoke in the first age, and difficulty and darkness 
rest upon all subsequent ones ; as if infallibility and per- 
sonal judgment were incompatible ; but this is to confuse 
the subject. We mu^t distinguish between a revelation 
and a reception of it, not between its earlier and later stages. 
A revelation, in itself divine, and guaranteed as such, may 
from first to last be received, doubted, argued against, 
perverted, rejected, by individuals according to the state of 
mind of each. Ignorance, misapprehension, unbelief, and 
other causes, do not at once cease to operate because the 
revelation is in itself true and in its proofs irrefragable. We 
have then no warrant at all for saying that an accredited 
revelation will exclude the existence of doubts and diffi- 
culties on the part of those whom it addresses, or dispense 
with anxious diligence on their part, though it may in its 

words stand for things quite distinct from ench other. I remember fot 
certain wliafc I did yesterday, but still my memory is not infallible. I xn 
quite^clcar that t\\o and two makes four, but I often make mistakes in loug 
addition sums. 1 have no doubt whatever that John or Richard is my true 
friend ; but I have before now trusted those who failed me, and I may do 
so again before I die. I am quite certain that Victoria is our sovereign, 
and not her father, the Duke of Kent, without any claim myself to the gift of 
infallibility, as I may do a virtuous action, without being impeccable. I 
maybe certain that the Church is infallible, while I am myself a fallible 
mortal; otherwise I cannot be certain that the Supreme Being is infallible, 
unless I am infallible myself. Certitude is directed to one or other definite 
concrete proposition. I am certain of propositions one, two, three, four, or 
five, one by one* each by itself. I can be certain of one of them, without 
being certain of the rest : that I am certain of the first makes it neither 
likely nor unlikely that I am certain of the second: but, were I infallible, 
then I should be certain, not only of one of them, but of all." Essay on 
Assent, cL vil sect 2] 


own nature tend to do so. Infallibility docs, not interfere 
with moral probation ; the two notions are absolutely 
distinct. It is no objection then to the idea of a per- 
emptory authority, such as I am supposing, that it lessens 
the task of personal inquiry, unless it be an objection to 
the authority of Revelation altogether. A Church, or a 
Council, or a Pope, or a Consent of Doctors, or a Consent of 
Christendom, limits the inquiries of the individual in no 
other way than Scripture limits them : it does limit them ; 
but, while it limits their range, i& preserves intact their 
probationary character ; we are tried as really, though not 
on so large a field. To suppose that the doctrine of a per- 
manent authority in matters of faith interferes with our 
free-will and responsibility is, as before, to forget that 
there were infallible teachers in the first age, and heretics 
and schismatics in the ages subsequent. There may have 
been at once a supreme authority from first to last, and a 
moral judgment from first to last. Moreover, those who 
maintain that Christian truth must be gained solely by 
personal efforts are bound to show that methods, ethical 
and intellectual, are granted to individuals sufficient for 
gaining it ; else the mode of probation they advocate is 
less, not more, perfect than that which proceeds upon ex- 
ternal authority. On the whole, then, no argument 
against continuing the principle of objectiveness into tho 
developments of Revelation arises out of the conditions of 
our moral responsibility. 


4. Perhaps it will be urged that the Analogy of Nature 
is against our anticipating the continuance of an external 
authority which has once been given ; because in the words 
of the profound thinker who has already been cited, " We 
are wholly ignorant what degree of new knowledge it 
were to be expected Gtod would give mankind by revela- 

<* 2 


tion, upon supposition of His affording one ; or how far, 
and in what way, He would interpose miraculously to 
qualify them to whom He should originally make the 
revelation for communicating the knowledge given by it, 
and to secure their doing it to the age in which they should 
live, and to secure its 'being transmitted to posterity ;" and 
because " we are not in any sort able to judge whether it 
were to be expected that the revelation should have been 
committed to writing, or left to be handed down, and con- 
sequently corrupted, by verbal tradition, and at length 
sunk under it." 2 But this reasoning does not apply here, 
as has already been observed ; it contemplates only the 
abstract hypothesis of a revelation, not the fact of an exist- 
ing revelation of a particular kind, which may of course in 
various ways modify our state of knowledge, by settling 
some of those very points which, before it was given, 
we had no means of deciding. Nor can it, as I think, be 
fairly denied that the argument from analogy in one point 
of view tells against anticipating a revelation at all, for an 
innovation upon the physical order of the world is by the 
very force of the terms inconsistent with its ordinary 
course. We cannot then regulate our antecedent view of 
the character of a revelation by a test which, applied 
simply, overthrows the very notion of a revelation alto- 
gether. Any how, Analogy is in some sort violated by 
the fact of a revelation, and the question before us only 
relates to the extent of that violation. 


I will hazard a distinction here between the facts of 
revelation and its principles : the argument from Analogy 
is more concerned with its principles than with its facts. 
The revealed facts are special and singular, not analogous, 
from the nature of the case : but it is otherwise with the 
2 Anal. ii. 3. 


revealed principles ; these are common to all the worts of 
God : and if the Author of Nature be the Author of Grace, 
it may he expected that, while the two systems of facts 
are distinct and independent, the principles displayed in 
them will he the same, and form a connecting link between, 
them. In this identity of principle lies the Analogy of 
Natural and Revealed Religion, in Butler 's sense of the 
word. The doctrine of the Incarnation is a fact, and 
cannot he paralleled by anything in nature ; the doctrine 
of Mediation is a principle, and is abundantly exemplified 
in its provisions. Miracles are facts; inspiration is a 
fact ; divine teaching once for all, and a continual teach- 
ing, are each a fact ; probation by means of intellectual 
difficulties is a principle both in nature and in grace, and 
may be carried on in the system of grace either by a 
standing ordinance of teaching or by one definite act of 
teaching, and that with an analogy equally perfect in either 
case to the order of nature ; nor can we succeed in arguing 
from the analogy of that order against a standing guardian- 
ship of revelation without arguing also against its original 
bestowal. Supposing the order of nature once broken by 
the introduction of a revelation, the continuance of that 
revelation is but a question of degree; and the circum- 
stance that a work has begun makes it more probable than 
not that it will proceed. We have no reason to suppose there is so great a distinction of dispensation between 
ourselves and the first generation of Christians, as that 
they had a living infallible guidance, and we have 

The case then stands thus : Revelation has introduced 
a new law of divine governance over and above those laws 
which appear in the natural course of the world ; and in 
consequence we are able to argue for the existence of a 
standing authority in matters of faith on the analogy of 
Nature, and from the fact of Christianity. Preservation is 


involved in the idea of creation. As the Creator rested on 
the seventh day from the work which He had made, yet 
He " worketh hitherto ;" so He gave the Creed once for 
all in the beginning, yet blesses its growth still, and pro- 
vides for its increase. His word st shall not return unto 
Him void, but accomplish " His pleasure. As creation 
argues continual governance, so are Apostles harbingers of 

" 1L 

5. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that, as the 
essence of all religion is authority and obedience, so the 
distinction between natural religion and revealed lies in 
this, that the one has a subjective authority, and the other 
an objective. Revelation consists in the manifestation of 
the Invisible Divine Power, or in the substitution of the 
voice of a Lawgiver for the voice of conscience. The 
supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion; 
the supremacy of Apostle, or Pope, or Church, or Bishop, 
is the essence of revealed ; and when such external autho- 
rity is taken away, the mind falls back again of necessity 
upon that inward guide which it possessed even before 
Revelation was vouchsafed. Thus, what conscience is 
in the system of nature, such is the voice of Scripture, 
or of the Church, or of the Holy See, as we may determine 
it, in the system of Revelation. It may be objected, in- 
deed, that conscience is not infallible ; it is true, but still 
it is ever to be obeyed. And this is just the prerogative 
which controversialists assign to the See of St. Peter ; it 
is not in all cases infallible, it may err beyond its specif.] 
province, but it has in all cases a claim on our obedience. 
" All Catholics and heretics/' says BeUarmine, " agree in 
two things : first, that it is possible for the Pope, even as 
pope, and with his own assembly of councillors, or with 
General Council, to err in particular controversies of fact, 


which, chiefly depend on human information and testimony ; 
secondly, that it is possible for him to err as a private 
Doctor, even in universal questions of right, whether of 
faith or of morals, and that from ignorance, as sometimes 
happens to other doctors. Next, all Catholics agree in other 
two points, not, however, with heretics, but solely with each 
other : first, that the Pope with General Council cannot 
err, either in framing decrees of faith or general precepts 
of morality ; secondly, that the Pope when determining 
anything in a doubtful matter, whether by himself or with 
his own particular Council, whether it is possible for him to 
err or not, is to le obeyed by all the faithful/' 3 And as 
obedience to conscience, even supposing conscience ill- 
informed, tends to the improvement of our moral nature, 
and ultimately of our knowledge, so obedience to our 
ecclesiastical superior may subserve our growth in illumi- 
nation and sanctity, even though he should command what 
is extreme or inexpedient, or teach what is external to his 
legitimate province. 

6. The common sense of mankind does but support a 
conclusion thus forced upon us by analogical considerations. 
It feels that the very idea of revelation implies a present 
informant and guide, and that an infallible one ; not a 
mere abstract declaration of Truths unknown before to 
man, or a record of history, or the result of an antiquarian 
research, but a message and a lesson speaking to this man 
and that. This is shown by the popular notion which Las 
prevailed among us since the Eeformation, that the Bible 
itself is such a guide ; and which succeeded in overthrow- 
ing the supremacy of Church and Pope, for the very reason 

* De Rom. Pont. iv. 2. [Seven years ago, it is scarcely necessary to say, 
the Vatican Council determined that the Pope, ex cathedrd, has the same 
.infallibility as the Church.' This docs not affect the argument in the text.] 


iihat it was a rival authority, not resisting merely, but 
supplanting it. In proportion, then, as we find, in matter 
of fact, that the inspired Volume is not adapted or intended 
to subserve that purpose, are we forced to revert to that 
living and present Guide, who, at the era of our rejection of 
her, had been solongrecognized as the dispenser of Scripture, 
according to times and circumstances, and the arbiter of all 
true doctrine and holy practice to her children. We feel 
a need, and she alone of all things under heaven supplies 
it. We are told that *God has spoken. Where? In a 
book ? We have tried it and it disappoints ; it disappoints 
us, that most holy and blessed gift, not from fault of its 
own, but because it is used for a purpose for which it was 
not given. The Ethiopian's reply, when St. Philip asked 
him if he understood what he was reading, is the voice of 
nature : ff How can I, unless some man shall guide me ?" 
The Church undertakes that office ; she does what none 
else can do, and this is the secret of her power. " The 
human mind," it has been said, " wishes to be rid of doubt 
in religion; and a teacher who claims infallibility is 
readily believed on his simple word. We see this con- 
stantly exemplified in the case of individual pretenders 
among ourselves. In Romanism the Church pretends to it ; 
she rids herself of competitors by forestalling them. And 
probably, in the eyes of her children, this is not the least 
persuasive argument for her infallibility, that she alone 
of all Churches dares claim it, as if a secret instinct and 
involuntary misgivings restrained those rival communions 
which go so far towards affecting it." 4 These sentences, 
whatever be the errors of their wording, surely express a 
great truth. The most obvious answer, then, to the 
question, why we yield to the authority of the Church in 
the questions and developments of faith, is, that some 
authority there must be if there is a revelation given, and 
* Proph. Office [Via Med. vol. i. p. 117]. 


other authority there is none "but she. A revelation is 
not given, if there he no authority to decide what it is that 
is given. In the words of St. Peter to her Divine Master 
and Lord, " To whom shall we go ? " Nor must it he for- 
gotten in confirmation, that Scripture expressly calls the 
Church " the pillar and ground of the Truth," and promises 
her as hy covenant that "the Spirit of the Lord that is 
upon her, and His words which He has put in her mouth 
shall not depart out of her mouth, nor out of the mouth 
of her seed, nor out. of the mouth of her seed's seed, from 
henceforth and for ever." 5 


7. And if the very claim to infallible arbitration in 
religious disputes is of so weighty importance and interest 
in all ages of the world, much more is it welcome at a 
time like the present, when the human intellect is so busy, 
and thought so fertile, and opinion so manifold. The abso- 
lute need of a spiritual supremacy is at present the strongest 
of arguments in favour of the fact of its supply. Surely, 
either an objective revelation has not boon given, or it has 
been provided with means for impressing its objectiveness 
on the world. If Christianity be a social religion, as it 
certainly is,andif it be based on certain ideas acknowledged 
as divine, or a creed, (which shall here be assumed,) and if 
these ideas have various aspects, and make distinct impres- 
sions on different minds, and issue in consequence in a 
multiplicity of developments, true, or false, or mixed, as 
has been shown, what power will suffice to meet and to do 
justice to these conflicting conditions, but a supreme 
authority ruling and reconciling individual judgments by 
a divine right and a recognized wisdom ? In barbarous 
times the will is reached through the senses ; but in an 
age in which reason, as it is culled, is the standard of 
1 Tiia. iii. 16 Isa. Kx, 21. 


truth and right, it is abundantly evident to any one, who 
mixes ever so little with the world, that, if things are left 
to themselves, every individual will have his own view of 
them, and take his own course; that two or three will agree 
to-day to part company to-morrow; that Scripture will be 
read in contrary ways, and history, according to the 
apologue, will have to different coiners its silver shield and 
its golden ; that philosophy, taste, prejudice, passion, 
" party, caprice, will find no common measure, unless there 
be some supreme powSr to control the mind and to compel 

There can be no combination on the basis of truth 
without an organ of truth. As cultivation brings out 
the colours of flowers, and domestication changes the 
character of animals, so does education of nc cassity develope 
differences of opinion ; an<i while it is impossible to lay 
down first principles in which all will unite, it is utterly 
unreasonable to expect that this man should yield to that, 
or all to one. I do not say there are no eternal truths, 
such as the poet proclaims, which all acknowledge in pri- 
vate, but that there are none sufficiently commanding to 
be the basis of public union and action. The only general 
persuasive in matters of conduct is authority; that is, (when 
truth is in question,) a judgment which we feel to be 
superior to our own. If Christianity is both social and dog- 
matic, and intended for all ages, it must humanly speaking 
have an infallible expounder. Else you will secure unity 
of form at the loss of unity of doctrine, or unity of doctrine 
at the loss of unity of form ; you will have to choose be- 
tween a comprehension of opinions and a resolution into 
parties, between latitudinarian and sectarian error. You 
may be tolerant or intolerant of contrarieties of thought, 
but contrarieties you will have. By the Church of England 
a hollow uniformity is preferred to an infallible chair ; and 

6 Ov ydp n vvv ye 


by the sects of England, an interminable division, Ger- 
many and Geneva began, with persecution, and have ended 
in scepticism. The doctrine of infallibility is a less violent 
hypothesis than this sacrifice either of faith or of charity. 
It secures the object, while it gives definiteness and force 
to the matter, of the Revelation. 


8. I have called the doctrine of Infallibility an hypo- 
thesis : let it be so considered for the sake of argument, that 
is, let it be considered to be a mere position, supported by 
no direct evidence, but required by the facts of the case, 
and reconciling them with each other. That hypothesis 
.is indeed, in matter of fact, maintained and acted on in, the 
largest portion of Christendom, and from time immemorial; 
but let this coincidence be accounted for by the need. 
Moreover, it is not a naked or isolated fact, but the ani- 
mating principle of a large scheme of doctrine which the 
need itself could not simply create ; but again, let this 
system be merely called its development. Yet even as au 
hypothesis, which has been held by one out of various 
communions, it may not be lightly put aside. Some 
hypothesis, this or that, all parties, all controversialists, all 
historians must adopt, if they would treat of Christianity 
at all. Gieseler's " Text Book " bears the profession of 
being a dry analysis of Christian history; yet on inspec- 
tion it will be found to be written on a positive and definite 
theory, and to bend facts to meet it. An unbeliever, as 
Gibbon, assumes one hypothesis, and an Ultra-montane, as 
Baronius, adopts another. The School of Hurd and 
Newton hold, as the only true view of history, that 
Christianity slept for centuries upon centuries, except 
among those whom historians call heretics. Others speak 
as if the oath of supremacy or the conyg d'elire could be 
made the measure of St. Ambrose, and they fit the Thirty. 


nine Articles on tlie fervid Tertullian. The question is, 
which of all these theories is the simplest, the most natural, 
the most persuasive. Certainly the notion of development 
under infallible authority is not a less grave, a less winning 
hypothesis, than the chance and coincidence of events, or 
the Oriental Philosophy, or the working of Antichrist, to 
account for the rise of Christianity and the formation of 
its theology. . 



I have been arguing, in respect to the revealed doctrine, 
given to us from above in Christianity, first, that, in con- 
sequence of its intellectual character, and as passing through 
the minds of so many generations of men, and as applied 
by them to so many purposes, and as investigated so 
curiously as to its capabilities, implications, and bearings, 
it could not but grdw or develope, as time went on, into 
a large theological system; next, that, if development 
must be, then, whereas Revelation is a heavenly gift, He 
who gave it virtually has not given it, unless He has also 
secured it from perversion and corruption, in all such 
development as comes upon it by the necessity of its 
nature, or, in other words, that that intellectual action 
through successive generations, which is the organ of 
development, must, so far forth as it can claim to have 
been put in charge of the Revelation, be in its determina- 
tions infallible. 

Passing from these two points, I come next to the 
question whether in the history of Christianity there is any 
fulfilment of siich anticipation as I have insisted on, 


whether in matter-of-fact doctrines, rites, and usages have 
grown up round the Apostolic Creed and have interpene- 
trated its Articles, claiming to be part of Christianity and 
looking like those additions which we are in search of. 
The answer is, that such additions there are, and that they 
are found just where they might be expected, in the 
authoritative seats and homes of old tradition, the Latin 
and Greek Churches. Let me enlarge on this point. 


I observe, then, that, if the idea of Christianity, as 
originally given to us from heaven, cannot but contain 
much which will be only partially recognized by us as 
included in it and only held by us unconsciously ; and if 
again, Christianity being from heaven, all that is neces- 
sarily involved in it, and is evolved from it, is from heaven, 
and if, on the other hand, large accretions actually do exist, 
professing to be its true and legitimate results, our first im- 
pression naturally is, that these must be the very develop- 
ments which they profess to be. Moreover, the very scale 
on which they have been made, their high antiquity yet 
present promise, their gradual formation yet precision, 
their harmonious order, dispose the imagination most 
forcibly towards the belief that a teaching so consistent 
with itself, so well balanced, so young and so old, not 
obsolete after so many centuries, but vigorous and pro- 
gressive still, is the very development contemplated in the 
Divine Scheme. These doctrines are members of one 
family, and suggestive, or correlative, or confirmatory, or 
illustrative of each other. One furnishes evidence to 
another, and all to each of them ; if this is proved, that 
becomes probable ; if this and that are both probable, but 
for different reasons, each adds to the other its own proba- 
bility. The Incarnation is the antecedent of the doctrine 
of Mediation, and the archetype both of the Sacramental 


principle and of the merits of Saints. From the doctrine of 
Mediation follow the Atonement, the Mass, the merits of 
Martyrs and Saints, their invocation and cultus. From the 
Sacramental principle come the Sacraments properly so 
called ; the unity of the Church, and the Holy See as its 
type and centre; the authority of Councils ; the sanctity of 
rites; the veneration of holy places, shrines, images, vessels, 
furniture, and vestments. Of the Sacraments, Baptism is 
developed into Confirmation on the one hand ; into Penance, 
Purgatory, and Indulgences on the other ; and the Eucha- 
rist into the Eeal Presence, adoration of the Host, Resur- 
rection of the body, and the virtue of relics. Again, the 
doctrine of the Sacraments leads to the doctrine of Justifica- 
tion ; Justification to that of Original Sin ; Original Sin to 
the merit of Celibacy. Xor do these separate developments 
stand independent of each other, but by cross relations they 
are connected, and grow together while they grow from one. 
The Mass and Eeal Presence are parts of one ; the venera- 
tion of Saints and their relics are parts of one; their 
intercessory power and the Purgatorial State, and again 
the Mass and that State are correlative ; Celibacy is the 
characteristic mark of Monachism and of the Priesthood. 
You must accept the whole or reject the whole ; attenuation 
does but enfeeble, and amputation mutilate. It is trifling 
to receive all but something which is as integral as any 
other portion ; and, on the other hand, it is a solemn thing 
to accept any part, for, before you know where you are, 
you may be carried on by a stern logical necessity to 
accept the whole. 


ISext, we have to consider that from first to last other 
developments there are none, except those which have 
possession of Christendom ; none, that is, of prominence 
and permanence sufficient to deserve the name, In early 


times the heretical doctrines were confessedly barren and 
short-lived, and could not stand their ground against 
Catholicism. As to the medieval period I am not aware 
that the Greeks present more than a negative opposition to 
the Latins. And now in like manner the Tridentine 
Creed is met by no rival developments ; there is no antago- 
nist system. Criticisms, objections, protests, there are in 
plenty, but little of positive teaching anywhere; seldom 
an attempt on the part of any opposing school to master 
its own doctrines, to investigate their sense and bearing, 
to determine their relation to the decrees of Trent and 
their distance from them. And when at any time this 
attempt is by chance in any measure made, then an incu- 
rable contrariety does but come to view between portions 
of the theology thus developed, and a war of principles ; 
an impossibilitjT- moreover of recon eiling that theology with 
the general drift of the formularies in which its elements 
occur, and a consequent appearance of unfairness and 
sophistry in adventurous persons who aim at forcing them 
into consistency ; 7 and, further, a prevalent understanding 
of the truth of this representation, authorities keeping 
silence, eschewing a hopeless enterprise and discouraging 
.it in others, and the people plainly intimating that they 
think both doctrine and usage, antiquity and development, 
of very little matter at all ; and, lastly, the evident despair 
of even the better sort of men, who, in consequence, when 
they set great schemes on foot, as for the conversion of 
the heathen world, are afraid to agitate the question of the 
doctrines to which it is to be converted, lest through the 
opened door they should lose what they have, instead of 
gaining what they have not. To the weight of recom- 
mendation which this contrast throws upon the develop- 
ments commonly called Catholic, must be added the 

7 [Vid. Via Media, vol. ii. pp. 231341.3 


argument which arises from lite coincidence of their 
consistency and permanence, with their claim of an infal- 
lible sanction, a claim, the existence of which, in some 
quarter or other of the Divine Dispensation, is, as we have 
already seen, antecedently probable. All these things 
being considered, I think few persons will deny the very 
strong presumption which exists, that, if there must be and 
are in fact developments in Christianity, the doctrines 
propounded by successive Popes and Councils, through so 
many ages, are they. * 


A further presumption in behalf of these doctrines arises 
from the general bpinion of the world about them. Chris- 
tianity being one, all its doctrines are necessarily develop- 
ments of one, and, if so, are of necessity consistent with 
each other, or form a whole. Now the world fully enters 
into this view of those well-known developments which 
claim the name of Catholic. It allows them that title, it 
considers them to belong to one family, and refers them to 
one theological system. It is scarcely necessary to set 
aboat proving what is urged by their opponents even more 
strenuously than by their champions. Their opponents 
avow that they protest, not against this doctrine or that, 
but against one and all ; and they seem struck with 
wonder and perplexity, not to say with awe, at a consist- 
ency which they feel to be superhuman, though they would 
not allow it to be divine. The system is confessed on all 
hands to bear a character of integrity and indivisibility 
upon it, both at first view and on inspection. Hence 
such sayings as the "Totajacet Babylon" of the distich. 
Luther did but a part of the work, Calvin another portion, 
Socinus finished it. To take up with Luther, and to reject 
Calvin and Socinus, would be, according to that epigram, 
like living in a house without a roof to it. This, I say, is 


no private judgment of this man or that, but the common 
opinion and experience of all countries. The two great 
divisions of religion feel it, Roman Catholic and Protestant, 
between whom the controversy lies ; sceptics and liberals, 
who are spectators of the conflict, feel it ; philosophers feel it. 
A school of divines there is, I grant, dear to memory, who 
have not felt it; and thoir exception will have its weight, 
till we reflect that the particular theology which they 
advocate has not the prescription of success, never has been 
realized in fact, or, if realized for a, moment, had no stay; 
moreover, that, when it has been enacted by human 
authority, it has scarcely travelled beyond the paper on 
which it was printed, or out of the legal forms in which it 
was embodied. But, putting the weight of these revered 
names at the highest, they do not constitute more than an 
exception to the general rule, such as is found in every sub- 
ject that comes into discussion. 


And this general testimony to the oneness of Catholicism 
extends to its past teaching relatively to its present, as well 
as to the portions of its present teaching one with another. 
No one doubts, with such exception as has just been allowed, 
that the Roman Catholic communion of this day is the 
successor and representative of the Medieval Church, or 
that the Medieval Church is the legitimate heir of the 
Mcene ; even allowing that it is a question whether a line 
cannot be drawn between the Meene Church and the 
Church which preceded it. On the whole, all parties will 
agree that, of all existing systems, the present communion 
oif Rome is the nearest approximation in fact to the 
Church of the Fathers, possible though some may think it, 
to be nearer still to that Church on paper. Did St. Atha- 
nasius or St. Ambrose come suddenly to life, it cannot 
be doubted what communion he would take to be his 


98 THE EXisrora DEVELOPMENTS, ETC. [CH. n. SECT. m. 

own. All surely wiE agree that these Patters, with whatever 
opinions of their own, whatever protests, if we w Jl, would 
find themselves more at home with such men as St. Bernard 
or St. Ignatius Loyola, or with the lonely priest in his 
Mains', or the holy sisterhood of mercy, or the unlettered 
crowd before the altar, than with the teachers or with 
the members of any other creed. And may we not add, 
that were those same Saints, who once sojourned, one in 
exile, one on embassy, at Treves, to come more northward 
still and to travel until they reached another fair city, 
seated among groves, green meadows, and calm streams, 
the holv brothers would turn from many a high aisle and 
solemn'cloister which they found there, and ask the way 
to some small chapel where mass was said m the populous 
alley or forlorn suburb? And, on the other hand, can 
any one who has but heard his name, and cursorily read 
his history, doubt for one instant how, in turn, the people 
of Eno-land, "we, our princes, our priests, and our pro- 
phets " Lords and Commons, Universities, Ecclesiastical 
Courts, marts of commerce, great towns, country parishes, 
would deal with Athanasius, Athanasius, who spent his 
long years in fighting against sovereigns for a theological 





IT seems, then, that we have to deal with a case something 
like the following : Certain doctrines come to us, professing 
to be Apostolic, and possessed of such high antiquity that, 
though we are only able to assign the date of their formal 
establishment to the fourth, or the fifth, or the eighth, or the 
thirteenth century, as it may happen, yet their substance 
may, for what appears, be coeval with the Apostles, and be 
expressed or implied in texts of Scripture. Further, these 
existing doctrines are universally considered, without any 
question, in each age to be the echo of the doctrines 
of the times immediately preceding them, and thus are 
continually thrown back to a date indefinitely early, even 
though their ultimate junction with the Apostolic Creed be 
out of sight and unascertainable. Moreover, they are 
confessed to form one body one with another, so that to 
reject one is to disparage the rest j and they include within 
the range of their system even those primary articles of 
faith, as the Incarnation, which many an impugner of 
the said doctrinal system, as a system, professes to accept, 

H 2 

100 METHOD OF PKOOF. [ct. 111. 

and which, do what he will, he cannot intelligibly separate, 
whether in point of evidence or of internal character, from 
others which he disavows. Further, these doctrines 
occupy the whole field of theology, and leave nothing to be 
supplied, except in detail, by any other system ; while, in 
matter of fact, no rival system is forthcoming, so that we 
have to choose between this theology and none at all. 
Moreover, this thcologv alone makes provision for that 
guidance of opinion and con d act, which seems externally 
to be the special aim of Revelation j and fulfils the 
promises of Scripture, by adapting itself to the various 
problems of thought and practice which meet us in life. 
And, further, it is the nearest approach, to say the least, 
to the religious sentiment, and what is called ef/ws, of the 
early Church, nay, to that of the Apostles and Prophets; 
for all will agree so far as this, that Elijah, Jeremiah, the 
Baptist, and St. Paul are in their history and mode of life 
(I do not speak of measures of grace, no, nor of doctrine and 
conduct, for these are the points in dispute, but) in what is 
external and meets the eye (and this is no slight resem- 
blance when things are viewed as a whole and from a 
distance), these saintly and heroic men, I say, are more 
like a Dominican preacher, or a Jesuit missionary, or a 
Carmelite friar, more like St. Toribio, or St. Vincent 
Ferrer, or St. Francis Xavier, or St. Alphonso Liguori, 
than to any individuals, or to any classes of men, that can 
be found in other communions. And then, in addition, 
there is the high antecedent probability that Providence 
would watch over His own work, and would direct and ratify 
those developments of doctrine which were inevitable. 


If this is, on the whole, a true view of the general shape 
under which the existing boly of developments, commonly 


called Catholic, present themselves before us, antecedently 
to our looking into the particular evidence on which they 
stand, I think we shall be at no loss to determine what 
both logical truth and duty prescribe to us as to our 
reception of them. It is very little to say that we should 
treat them as we are accustomed to treat other alleged facts 
and truths and the evidence for them, such as come to us 
with a fair presumption in their favour. Such are of 
every day's occurrence ; and what ispur behaviour towards 
them ? We meet them, not with suspicion and criticism, 
but with a frank confidence. We do not in the first 
instance exercise our reason upon opinions which are 
received, but our faith. We do not begin with doubting ; 
we take them on trust, and we put them on trial, and that, 
not of set purpose, but spontaneously. We prove them by 
using them, by applying them to the subject-matter, or the 
evidence, or the body of circumstances, to which they 
belong, as if they gave it its interpretation or its colour as 
a matter of course ; and only when they fail, in the event, 
in illustrating phenomena or harmonizing facts, do we 
discover that we must reject the doctrines or the statements 
which we had in the first instance taken for granted. 
Again, we take the evidence for them, whatever it be, as a 
whole, as forming a combined proof; and we interpret 
what is obscure in separate portions by such portions as 
are clear. Moreover, we bear with these in proportion, to 
the strength of the antecedent probability in their favour, 
we are patient with difficulties in their application, with 
apparent objections to them drawn from other matters of 
fact, deficiency in their comprehensiveness, or want of 
neatness in their working, provided their claims on our 
attention are considerable. 


Thus most men take Newton's theory of gravitation fox* 


granted, because it is generally received, and use it without 
rigidly testing it first, each for himself, (as it can be 
tested,) by phenomena; and if phenomena are found 
which it does not satisfactorily solve, this does not trouble 
us, for a way there must be of explaining them, con- 
sistently with that theory, though it does not occur to our- 
selves. Again, if we found a concise or obscure passage in 
one of Cicero's letters to Atticus, we should not scruple to 
admit as its true explanation a more explicit statement in 
his Ad Famlliares. JEschylus is illustrated by Sophocles in 
point of language, and Thucydides by Aristophanes, in 
point of history. Horace, Persius, Suetonius, Tacitus, and 
Juvenal may be made to throw light upon each other. 
Even Plato may gain a commentator in Plotinus, and 
St. Anselm is interpreted by St. Thomas. Two writers, 
indeed, may be already known to differ, and then we do 
not join them together as fellow-witnesses to common 
truths; Luther has taken on himself to explain St. 
Augustine, and Voltaire, Pascal, without persuading the 
world that they have a claim to do so ; but in no case do we 
begin with asking whether a comment does not disagree with 
its text, when there is a primd facie congruity between them. 
"We elucidate the text by the comment, though, or rather be- 
cause^ the comment is fuller and more explicit than the text 


Thus too we deal with Scripture, when we have to 
interpret the prophetical text and the types of the Old 
Testament. The event which is the development is also 
the interpretation of the prediction ; it provides a fulfil- 
ment by imposing a meaning. And we accept certain 
events as the fulfilment of prophecy from the broad 
correspondence of the one with the other, in spite of many 
incidental difficulties. The difficulty, for instance, in 
accounting for the fact that the dispersion of the Jews 


followed upon their keeping, not their departing from 
their Law, does not hinder us from insisting on theit 
present state as an argument against the infidel. Again, 
we readily submit our reason on competent authority, and 
accept certain events as an accomplishment of predictions, 
which seem very far removed from them ; as in the passage, 
" Out of Egypt have I called My Son." Nor do we find 
a difficulty, when St. Paul appeals to a text of the 
Old Testament, which stands otherwise in our Hebrew 
copies ; as the words, " A body hast Thou prepared Me." 
We receive such difficulties on faith, and leave them to 
take care of themselves. Much less do we consider mere 
fulness in the interpretation, or definiteness, or again 
strangeness, as a sufficient reason for depriving the text, 
or the action to which it is applied, of the advantage of 
such interpretation. We make it no objection that the 
words themselves come short of it, or that the sacred 
writer did not contemplate it, or that a previous fulfilment 
satisfies it. A reader who came to the inspired text by 
himself, beyond the influence of that traditional acceptation 
which happily encompasses it, would be surprised to be 
told that the Prophet's words, tc A virgin shall conceive/' 
&c., or "Let all the Angels of God worship Him," refer 
to our Lord \ but assuming the intimate connexion between 
Judaism and Christianity, and the inspiration of the New 
Testament, we do not scruple to believe it We rightly 
feel that it is no prejudice to oar receiving the prophecy of 
Balaam in its Christian meaning, that it is adequately 
fulfilled in David ; or the history of Jonah, that it is 
poetical in character and has a moral in itself like an apo- 
logue ; or the meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek, that is 
is too brief and simple to mean any great thing, as St, Paul 
interprets it. 

Butler corroborates these remarks, when speaking of 

10-i METHOD 01? PROOF. [oil. IU. 

the particular evidence for Christianity. " The obscurity 
or unintelligibleness/' he says, "of one part of a 
prophecy does not in any degree invalidate the proof of 
foresight, arising from the appearing completion of those 
other parts which are understood. For the case is 
evidently the same as if those parts, which are not 
understood, were lost, or not' written at all, or written in 
an unknown tongue. Whether this observation be com- 
monly attended to oi\ not, it is so evident that one can 
scarce bring one's self to set down an instance in com- 
mon matters to exemplify it/' 1 He continues, " Though 
a man should be incapable, for want of learning, or oppor- 
tunities of inquiry, or from not having turned his studies 
this way, even so much as to judge whether particular 
prophecies have been throughout completely fulfilled ; yet 
he may see, in general, that they have been fulfilled to 
such a degree, as, upon very good ground, to be convinced 
of foresight more than human in such prophecies, and of 
such events being intended by them. For the same 
reason also, though, by means of the deficiencies in civil 
history, and the different accounts of historians, the most 
learned should not be able to make out to satisfaction that 
such parts of the prophetic history have been minutely 
and throughout fulfilled ; yet a very strong proof of fore- 
sight may arise from that general completion of them 
which is made out 5 as much proof of foresight, perhaps, 
as the Giver of prophecy intended should ever be afforded 
by such parts of prophecy " 


He illustrates this by the parallel instance of fable and 
concealed satire. "A man might be assured that he un- 
derstood what an author intended by a fable or parable, 
related without any application or moral, merely from see- 

"SECT, i.] METHOD OF PROOF. " ; 105 

ing it to be easily capable of such application, and -tfeafc, 
such, a moral might naturally be deduced from it. And 
he might be fully assured that such persons and events 
TV ere intended in a satirical writing, merely from its being 
applicable to them. And, agreeably to the last observa- 
tion, he might be in a good measure satisfied of it., though 
he were not enough informed in affairs, or in the story of 
such persons, to understand half the satire. For his satis- 
faction, that he understood the meaning, the intended 
meaning, of these writings, would be greater or less, in 
proportion as he saw the general turn of them to be capa- 
ble of such application, and in proportion to the number 
of particular things capable of it/' And he infers hence, 
that if a known course of events, or the history of a person 
as our Lord, is found to answer on the whole to the pro- 
phetical text, it becomes fairly the right interpretation 
of that text, in spite of difficulties in detail. And this 
rule of interpretation admits of an obvious application to the 
parallel case of doctrinal passages, when a certain creed, 
which professes to have been derived from Revelation, 
comes recommended to us on strong antecedent grounds, 
and presents no strong opposition to the sacred text. 

The same author observes that the first fulfilment of 
& prophecy is no valid objection to a second, when what 
seems like a second has once taken place ; and, in like 
manner, an interpretation of doctrinal texts may be literal, 
exact, and sufficient, yet in spite of all this may ^ not 
embrace what is really the full scope of their moaning; 
and that fuller scope, if it so happen, may be less satis- 
factory and precise, as an interpretation, than their 
primary and narrow sense. Thus, if the Protestant inter- 
pretation of the sixth chapter of St. John were true and 
sufficient for its letter, (which of course I do not grant,) 
that would not hinder the Boman, which atleast isquite com- 
patible with the text, being the higher sense and the only 


rightful. Irf'such cases the justification of the larger and 
higher interpretation lies in some antecedent probability, 
such as Catholic consent ; and the ground of the narrow 
is the context, and the rules of grammar ; and, whereas 
the argument of the critical oommen ,ator is that the sacred 
text wed not mean more than the letter, those who adopt 
a deeper view of it maintain, as Butler in the case of 
prophecy, that we have no warrant for putting a limit to 
the sense of words which are not human but divine. 


Fow it is but a parallel exercise of reasoning to interpret 
the previous history of a doctrine by its later development, 
and to consider that it contains the later in posse and in the 
divine intention ; and the grudging and jealous temper, 
which refuses to enlarge the sacred text for the fulfilment 
of prophecy, is the very same that will occupy itself 
in carping at the Ante-nicene testimonies for Hicene or 
Medieval d octrinos and usages. When "land My Father 
are One " is urged in proof of our Lord's unity with the 
Father, heretical disputants do not see why the words 
must be taken to denote more than a unity of will. "When 
" This is My Body " is alleged as a warrant for the change 
of the Bread into the Body of Christ, they explain away 
the words into a figure, because such is their most obvious 
interpretation. And, in like manner, when Eoman 
Catholics urge St. Gregory's invocations, they are told 
that these are but rhetorical ; or St. Clement's allusion 
to Purgatory, that perhaps it was Platonism ; or Origen's 
language about praying to Angels and the merits of 
Martyrs, that it is but an instance of his heterodoxy ; or 
St. Cyprian's exaltation of the Cathedra Petri, that he 
need not be contemplating more than a figurative or 
abstract see ; or the general testimony to the spiritual 
authority of Rome in primitive times, that it arose from 


her temporal greatness; or Tertullian's language about 
Tradition and the Church, that he took a lawyer's view of 
those subjects ; whereas the early condition, and the 
evidence, of each doctrine respectively, ought consistently 
to be interpreted by means of that development which 
was ultimately attained. 


Moreover, since, as above shown, the doctrines all together 
make up one integral religion, it follows that the several 
evidences which respectively support those doctrines belong 
to a whole, and must he thrown into a common stock, and all 
are available in the defence of any. A collection of weak 
evidences makes up a strong evidence; again, one strong 
argument imparts cogency to collateral arguments which 
are in themselves weak. For instance, as to the miracles, 
whether of Scripture or the Church, " the number of those 
which carry with them their own proof now, and are 
believed for their own sake, is small, and they furnish the 
grounds on which we receive the rest." 3 Again, no one 
would fancy it necessary, before receiving St. Matthew's 
Gospel, to find primitive testimony in behalf of every 
chapter and verse : when only part is proved to have been 
in existence in ancient times, the whole is proved, because 
that part is but part of a whole ; and when the whole is 
proved, it may shelter such parts as for some incidental reason 
have less evidence of their antiquity. Again, it would be 
enough to show that St. Augustine knew the Italic version 
of the Scriptures, if he quoted it once or twice. And, in 
like manner, it will be generally admitted that the proof 
of a Second Person in the Godhead lightens greatly 
the burden of proof necessary for belief in a Third Person ; 
and that, the Atonement being in some sort a correlative 
of eternal punishment, the evidence for the former doctrine 
a [On Miracles, Essay ii. 111.] 


virtually increases the evidence for the latter. And so, a 
Protestant controversialist would feel that it told little, 
except as an omen of victory, to reduce an opponent to 
a denial of Transubstantiation, if he still adhered firmly 
to the Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, the Seven 
Sacraments, and the doctiine of merit ; and little too ior 
one of his own party to condemn the adoration of the 
Host, the supremacy of Rome, the acceptablene.-s of celi- 
bacy, auricular confession, communion under one kind, 
and tradition, if he was zealous for the doctrine of the 
Immaculate Conception. 

The principle on which these remarks are made has the 
sanction of some of the deepest of English Divines. Bishop 
Butler, for instance, who has so often been quoted here, 
thus argues in behalf of Christianity itself, though con- 
fessing at the same time the disadvantage which in conse- 
quence the revealed system lies under. " Probable proofs, " 
he observes, " by being added, not only increase the evi- 
dence, but multiply it. Nor should I dissuade any one from 
setting down what he thought made for the contrary 
side. . * . The truth of our religion, like the truth of com- 
mon matters, is to be judged by all the evidence taken 
together. And unless the whole series of things which 
may be alleged in this argument, and every particular 
thing in it, can reasonably be supposed to have been 
by accident (for here the stress of the argument for 
Christianity lies), then is the truth of it proved ; in like 
manner, as if, in any common case, numerous events 
acknowledged were to be alleged in proof of any other 
event disputed, the truth of the disputed event would be 
proved, not only if any one of the acknowledged ones did 
of itself clearly imply it, but though no one of them 
singly did so, if the whole of the acknowledged events, 


taken together, could not in reason be supposed to hare 
happened, unless the disputed one were true. 

" It is obvious how much advantage the nature of this 
evidence gives to those persons who attack Christianity, 
especially in conversation. For it is easy to show, in a 
short and lively manner, that such and such things are 
liable to objection, that this and another thing is of little 
weight in itself ; but impossible to show, in like manner, 
the united force of the whole argument in one view." 3 

In like manner, Mr. Davison condemns that " vicious 
manner of reasoning," which represents " any insufficiency 
of the proof, in its several branches, as so much objection ;" 
which manages " the inquiry so as to make it appear that, 
if the divided arguments be inconclusive one by one, we 
have a series of exceptions to the truths of religion instead 
of a train of favourable presumptions, growing stronger at 
every step. The disciple of Scepticism is taught that he 
cannot fully rely, on this or that motive of belief, that each 
of them is insecure, and the conclusion is put upon him 
that they ought to be discarded one after another, instead 
of being connected and combined/* 4 No work perhaps 
affords more specimens in a short compass of the breach 
of the principle of reasoning inculcated in these passages, 
than Barrow's Treatise on the Pope^s Supremacy, 


The remarks of these two writers relate to the duty of 
combining doctrines which belong to one body, and evi- 
dences which relate to one subject; and few persons would 
dispute it in the abstract. The application which has been 
here made of the principle is this, that where a doctrine 
comes recommended to us by strong presumptions of its 
truth, we are bound to receive it unsuspiciously, and use 
it as a key to the evidences to which it appeals, or the 
Anal. ii. 7. 4 On Prophecy, L p. 23. 


facts which it professes to systematize, whatever may be our 
eventual judgment about it. Nor is it enough to answer, 
that the voice of our particular Church, denying this so- 
called Catholicism, is an antecedent probability which 
outweighs all others and claims our prior obedience, 
loyally and without reasoning, to its own interpretation. 
This may excuse individuals certainly, in beginning with 
doubt and distrust of the Catholic developments, but it 
only shifts the blame to the particular Church, Anglican 
or other, which thinks itself qualified to enforce so per- 
emptory a judgment against the one and only successor, 
heir and representative of the Apostolic college. 



Bacon is celebrated for destroying the credit of a method 
of reasoning much resembling that which it has been the 
object of this Chapter to recommend. "He who is not 
practised in doubting," he says, te but forward in asserting 
and laying down such principles as he takes to be approved, 
granted and manifest, and, according to the established 
truth thereof, receives or rejects everything, as squaring 
with or proving contrary to them, is only fitted to mix 
and confound things with words, reason with madness, and 
the world with fable and fiction, but not to interpret the 
works of nature." 5 But he was aiming at the application 
of these modes of reasoning to what should be strict inves- 
tigation, and that in the province of physics ; and this he 
might well censure, without attempting, (what is impos- 
sible,) to banish them from history, ethics, and religion. 
* Aphor, 5, vol. iv. p. xi. ed. 1815. 


Physical facts are present ; they are submitted to the senses, 
and the senses may be satisfactorily tested, corrected, and 
verified. To trust to anything but sense in a matter of 
sense is irrational ; why are the senses given us but to 
supersede less certain, less immediate informants ? We 
have recourse to reason or authority to determine facts, 
when the senses fail us; but \vith the senses we begin. 
We deduce, we form inductions, we abstract, we theorize 
from facts ; we do not begin with surmise and conjecture, 
much less do we look to the tradition of past ages, or the 
decree of foreign teachers, to determine matters which are 
in our hands and under our eyes, 

But it is otherwise with history, the facts of which are 
not present ; it is otherwise with ethics, in which pheno- 
mena are more subtle, closer, and more personal to indi- 
' viduals than other facts, and not referable to any common 
standard by which all men can decide upon them. In 
such sciences, we cannot rest upon mere facts, if we would, 
because we have not got them. We must do our best with 
what is given us, and look about for aid from any quarter ; 
and in such circumstances the opinions of others, the 
traditions of ages, the prescriptions of authority, antecedent 
auguries, analogies, parallel cases, these and' the like, not 
indeed taken at random, but, like .the evidence from the 
senses, sifted and scrutinized, obviously become of great 


And, further, if we proceed on the hypothesis that a 
merciful Providence has supplied us with means of gaining 
such truth as concerns us, in different subject-matters, 
though with different instruments, then the simple question 
is, what those instruments are which are proper to a par- 
ticular case. If they are of the appointment of a Divine 
Protector, we may be sure that they will lead to the truth, 
whatever they are. The less exact methods of reasoning 


may do ITis work as well as the more per feet, if lie blesses 
them. He may bless antecedent probabilities in ethical 
inquiries, who blesses experience and induction in the art 
of medicine. 

And if it is reasonable to consider medicine, or architec- 
ture, or engineering, in a certain sense, divine arts, as 
bein^ divinely ordained means of our receiving divine 
benefits, much more may ethics be called divine ; while as 
to religion, it directly professes to be the method of recom- 
mending ourselves tcf Him and learning His will. If then 
it be His gracious purpose that we should learn it, the 
means He gives for learning it, be they promising or not 
to human eyes, are sufficient, because they are His. And 
what they are at this particular time, or to this person, 
depends on His disposition. He may have imposed 
simple prayer and obedience on some men as the instrument 
of their attaining to the mysteries and precepts of Chris- 
tianity. He may lead others through the written word, 
at least for some stages of their course ; and if the formal 
basis on which He has rested His revelations be, as it is, 
of an historical and philosophical character, then antece- 
dent probabilities, subsequently corroborated by facts, will 
be sufficient, as in the parallel case of other history, to 
bring us safely to the matter, or at least to the organ, of 
those revelations. 


Moreover, in subjects which belong to moral proof, such, 
I mean, as history, antiquities, political science, ethics, 
metaphysics, and theology, which are pre-eminently such, 
and especially in theology and ethics, antecedent proba- 
bility may have a real weight and cogency which it cannot 
have in experimental science ; and a mature politician or 
divine may have a power of reaching matters of fact in 
consequence of his peculiar habits of mind, which is seldom 
given in the same degree to physical inquirers, who, for 


the purposes of this particular pursuit, are Tcry much on a 
level. And this last remark at least is confirmed by Lord 
Bacon, who confesses " Our method of discovering the 
sciences does not much depend Vpon subtlety and strength 
of genius, but lies level to almost every capacity and 
understanding ;" though surely sciences there are, in 
which genius is everything, and rules all but nothing. 


It will be a great mistake then to suppose that, because 
this eminent philosopher condemned presumption and pre- 
scription in inquiries into facts which are external to us, 
present with us, and common to us all, therefore authority, 
tradition, verisimilitude, analogy, and the like, are mere 
" idols of the den " or " of the theatre " in history or ethics, 
Here we may oppose to him an author in his own line as 
great as he is : " Experience," says Bacon, " is by far the 
best demonstration, provided it dwell in the experiment; for 
the transferring of it to other things judged alike is very 
fallacious, unless done with great exactness and regular- 
ity/' 7 Niebuhr explains or corrects him : " Instances are 
not arguments," he grants, when investigating an obscure 
question of Roman history, " instances are not arguments, 
but in history are scarcely of less force ; above all, where 
the parallel they exhibit is in the progressive development 
.of institutions/ 3 8 Here this sagacious writer recognizes 
the true principle of historical logic, while he exemplifies it. 

The same principle is involved in the well-known maxim 
of Aristotle, that '* it is much the same to admit the pro- 
babilities of a mathematician, and to look for demonstration 
from an orator." In all matters of human life, presrmp- 
tion verified by instances, is our ordinary instrument of 
proof, and, if the antecedent probability is great, it almost 

Nov. Org. i. 2, 26, vol. iv. p. 29. 7 Nov. Org. 70, p. 44. 

* Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 345, ed. 1823. 


supersedes instances. Of course, as is plain, we may err 
grievously in tho antecedent view which we start with, 
aad in that case, our conclusions may be wide of the truth ; 
but that only shows that we had no right to assume a 
premiss which was untrustworthy, not that our reasoning 
was faulty. 


I am speaking of the process itself, and its correctness 
is shown by its general adoption. In religious questions a 
single text of Scripture is all-sufficient with most people, 
whether the well disposed or the prejudiced, to prove a 
doctrine or a duty in cases when a custom is established or a 
tradition is strong. te Not forsaking the assembling of our- 
selves together " is sufficient for establishing social, public, 
nay, Sunday worship. "Where the tree falleth, there 
shall it lie/' shows that our probation ends with life. " For- 
bidding to marry " determines the Pope to be the man of 
sin. Again, it is plain that a man's after course for good 
or bad brings out the passing words or obscure actions of 
previous years. Then, on a retrospects we use the event as 
a presumptive interpretation of the past, of those past 
indications of his character which, considered as evidence, 
were too few and doubtful to bear insisting on at the time, 
and would have seemed ridiculous, had we attempted to do 
so. And the antecedent probability is even found to 
triumph over contrary evidence, as well as to sustain what 
agrees with it. Every one may know of cases in which a 
plausible charge against an individual was borne down at 
once by weight of character, though that character was in- 
commensurate of course with the circumstances which gave 
rise to suspicion, and had no direct neutralizing force to 
destroy it. On the other hand, it is sometimes said, and 
even if not literally true will serve in illustration, that not 
a few of those who are put on trial in our criminal courts 
are not legally guilty of the particular crime on which a 


verdict is found against them, being -convicted not so 
much upon the particular evidence, as on the presumption 
arising from their want of character and the memory of 
their former o [Fences. Nor is it in slight matters only or 
unimportant that we thus act. Our dearest interests, our 
personal \velfire, our property, our health, our reputation, 
we freely hazard, not on proof, but on a simple probability, 
which is suiiicient for our conviction, because prudence 
dictates to us so to take it. We must be content to follow 
the law of our being in religious matters as well as in 


But there is more to say on the subordinate position which 
direct evidence holds among the nwfira of conviction in 
most matters. It is no paraclox to say that there is 
a certain scantiness, nay an absence of evidence, which 
may even tell in favour of statements which require to be 
made good. There are indeed cases in which we cannot 
discover the law of silence or deficiency, which are then 
simply unaccountable. Thus Lucian, for whatever reason, 
hardly notices Roman authors or affairs. 9 Maximus 
Tyrius, who wrote several of his works at Rome, neverthe- 
less makes no reference to Roman history. Paterculus, 
the historian, is mentioned by no ancient writer except 
Priscian. What is more to our present purpose, Seneca, 
Pliny the elder, and Plutarch are altogether silent about 
Christianity; and perhaps Epictetus also, and the Em- 
peror Marcus. The Jewish Mishna, too, compiled about 
AJX 180, is silent about Christianity; and the Jerusalem 
and Babylonish Talmuds almost so, though the one was 
compiled about A.D. 300, and the other A.D. 500. 1 Euse- 
bius again, is very uncertain in his notice of facts : he does 
not speak of St. Methodius, nor of St. Anthony, nor of the 
martyrdom of St. Perpetua, nor of the miraculous powers of 

* Lardncr's Heath. Test, p. 22. l Paley's Evid. p. L prop. 1, 7. 

I 2 


St. Gregory Thaumaturgus ; and he mentions Constantino's 
luminous cross, not in his Ecclesiastical History, where it 
would naturally find a place, but in his Life of the Emperor. 
Moreover, those who receive that wonderful occurrence, 
which is, as one who rejects it allows, 2 " so inexplicable 
to the historical inquirer," have to explain the difficulty 
of the universal silence on the subject of all the Fathers 
of the fourth and fifth centuries, excepting Eusebius. 

In like manner, Scripture has its unexplained omis- 
sions. No religious'school finds its own tenets and usages 
on the surface of it. The remark applies also to the very 
context of Scripture, as in the obscurity which hangs 
over Jfathanael or the IFagdalen. It is a remarkable 
circumstance that there is no direct intimation all through 
Scripture that the Serpent mentioned in the temptation of 
Eve was the evil spirit, till we come to the vision of the 
Woman, and Child, and their adversary, the Dragon, in the 
twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse. 


Omissions, thus absolute and singular, when they occur 
in the evidence of facts or doctrines, are of course difficul- 
ties ; on the other hand, not unfrequently they admit of 
explanation. Silence may arise from the very notoriety 
of the facts in question, as in the case of the seasons, the 
weather, or other natural phenomena; or from their 
sacredness, as the Athenians would not mention the mytho- 
logical Furies; or from external constraint, as the omis- 
sion of the statues of Brutus and Cassius in the procession. 
Or it may proceed from fear or disgust, as on the arrival 
of unwelcome news ; or from indignation, or hatred, or 
contempt, or perplexity, as Joseph us is silent about Chris- 
tianity, and Eusebius passes over the death of Crispus in 
his life of Constantine ; or from other strong feeling, as 

* Milnotftii, Cliribt. vol. u. p, Ji32. 


implied in the poet's sentimont, "Give sorrow words;" 
or from policy or other prudential motive, or propriety, as 
Queen's Speeches do not mention individuals, however 
influential in the political world, and newspapers after a 
time were silent about the cholera. Or, again, from the 
natural and gradual course which the fact took, as in the 
instance of inventions and discoveries, the history of which 
is on this account often obscure ; or from loss of documents 
or other direct testimonies, as we should not look for 
theological information in a treatise on geology, 


Again, it frequently happens that omissions proceed on 
some law, as the varying influence of an external cause ; 
and then, so far from being a perplexity, they may even 
confirm such evidence as occurs, by becoming, as it were, its 
correlative. For instance, an obstacle may be assignable, 
person, or principle, or accident, which ought, if it exists, 
to reduce or distort the indications of a fact to that 
very point, or in that very direction, or with the varia- 
tions, or in the order and succession, which do occur in 
its actual history. At first sight it might be a suspicious 
circumstance that but one or two manuscripts of some 
celebrated document were forthcoming ; but if it were 
known that the sovereign power had exerted itself to sup- 
press and destroy it at the time of its publication, and 
that the extant manuscripts were found just in those 
places where history witnessed to the failure of the attempt, 
the coincidence would be highly corroborative of that 
evidence which alone remained. 

Thus it is possible to have too much evidence ; that is, 
evidence so full or exact as to throw suspicion over thii 
case for which it is adduced. The genuine Epistles of St. 
Ignatius contain nono of those ecclesiastical terms, such as 
"Priest" or "See," which are so frequent afterwards? 


and they quote Scripture sparingly. The interpolated 
Epistles quote it largely ; that is, they are too Scriptural 
to be Apostolic. Pew persons, again, who are acquainted 
with the primitive theology, but will be sceptical at first 
readbg of the authenticity of such works as the longer 
Creed of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, or St. Hippolytus 
contra Beronexu, from tho precision of the theological 
language, which is unsuitable to the Anteniceae period. 


The influence of circumstances upon the expression of 
opinion or testimony supplies another form of the same 
law of omission. "I am ready to admit," says Paley, 
( that the ancient Christian advocates did not insist upon 
the miracles in argument so frequently as I should have 
done. It was their lot to contend with notions of magical 
agency, against which the mere production of the facts 
was not sufficient for the convincing of their adversaries ; 
I do not know whether they themselves thought it quite 
decisive of the controversy. But since it is proved, I 
conceive with certainty, that the sparingness with which 
they appealed to miracles was owing neither to their 
ignorance nor their doubt of the facts 3 it is at any rate an 
objection, not to the truth of the history, but to the judg- 
ment of its defenders." 3 And, in like manner, Christians 
were not likely to entertain the question of the abstract 
allowableness of images in the Catholic ritual, with the 
actual superstitions and immoralities of paganism before 
their eyes. Nor were they likely to determine the place 
of the Blessed Mary in our reverence, before they had 
duly secured, in the affections of the faithful, the supreme 
glory and worship of God Incarnate, her Eternal Lord 
and Son. For would they recognize Purgatory as a part 
of the Dispensation, till the world had flowed into the 
* Evidences, iii. 5. 


Church, and a habit of corruption had been largely super- 
induced. Nor could ecclesiastical liberty be asserted, till it 
had been assailed. Nor would a Pope arise, but in proportion 
as the Church was consolidated. Nor would nionachism 
be needed, while martyrdoms were in progress. Nor 
could St. Clement give judgment on the doctrine of 
Berengarius, nor St. Dionysius refute the Ubiquists, nor 
St. IrenaBus denounce the Protestant view of Justification, 
nor St. Cyprian draw up a theory of toleration. There 
is " a time for every purpose under the heaven ;" " a time 
to keep silence and a time to speak." 


Sometimes when the want of evidence for a series of 
facts or doctrines is unaccountable, an unexpected explana- 
tion or addition in the course of time is fourd as regards 
a portion of them, which suggests a ground of patience as 
regards the historical obscurity of the rest. Two instances 
are obvious to mention, of an accidental silence of clear 
primitive testimony as to important doctrines, and its 
removal. In the number of the articles of Catholic belief 
which the Reformation especially resisted, were the Mass 
and the sacramental virtue of Ecclesiastical Unity. Since 
the date of that movement, the shorter Epistles of St. 
Ignatius have been discovered, and the early Liturgies 
verified ; and this with most men has put an end to the 
controversy about those doctrines. The good fortune which 
has happened to them, may happen to others ; and though 
it does not, yet that it has happened to them, is V> those 
others a sort of compensation for the obscurity in which 
their early history continues to be involved. 


I may seem in these remarks to be preparing the way 


for a broad admission of tlie absence of any sanction in 
primitive Christianity in behalf of its medieval form, but 
I do not make them with this intention. Not from mis- 
givings of this Idtid, but from the claims of a sound logic, 
I think it right to insist, that, whatever early testimonies I 
may bring in support of later developments of doctrine, are 
in great measure brought e,r alundanle, a matter of grace, 
not of compulsion. The onus prvlancli is with those who 
assail a teaching which is, and has long been, in possession. 
As for positive evidence in our behalf, they must take what 
they can get, if they cannot get as much as they might 
wish, inasmuch as antecedent probabilities, as I have said, 
go so very far towards dispensing with it. It is a first 
strong point that, in an idea such as Christianity, develop- 
ments cannot but be, and those surely divine, because it is 
divine ; a second that, if so, they are those very ones which 
exist, because there are no others ; and a third point is the 
fact that they are found just there, where true develop- 
ments ought to be found, namely, in the historic seats of 
Apostolical teaching and in the authoritative homes of im- 
memorial tradition. 


And, if it be said in reply that the difficulty of admitting 
these developments of doctrine lies, not merely in the ab- 
sence of early testimony for them, but in the actual existence 
of distinct testimony against them, or, as Chillingworth 
says, in. "Popes against Popes, Councils against Councils," 
I answer, of course this will be said ; but let the fact of 
this objection be carefully examined, and its value reduced 
to its true measure, before it is used in argument. I grant 
that there are " Bishops against Bishops in Church history, 
Fathers against Fathers, Fathers against themselves," for 
such differences in individual writers are consistent with, 
or rather are involved in the very idea of doctrinal develop- 


raent, ancl consequently are no real objection to it ; tlie one 
essential question is whether the recognized organ of 
teaching, ihe Church herself, acting through Pope or 
Council as the oracle of heaven, lias ever contradicted 
her own enunciations. If so, the hypothesis which I am 
advocating is at once shattered; hut, till I have posithe 
and distinct evidence of the fuct, I am slow to gi\e 
credence to the existence of so great an improbability. 



IT follows now to inquire how much evidence is actually 
producible for those large portions of the present Creed of 
Christendom, which have not a recognized place in the 
primordial idea and the historical outline of the Religion, 
yet which come to us with certain antecedent considerations 
strong enough in reason to raise the effectiveness o that 
evidence to a point disproportionate, as I have allowed, to 
its intrinsic value. In. urging these considerations here, 
of course I exclude for the time the force of the Church's 
claim of infallibility in her acts, for which so much can be 
said, but I do not exclude the logical cogency of those 
acts, considered as testimonies to the faith of the times 
before them. 

My argument then is this : that, from the first age of 
Christianity, its teaching looked towards those ecclesiastical 
dogmas, afterwards recognized and defined, with (as time 
went on) more or less determinate advance in the direction 
of them ; till at length that advance became so pronounced, 
as to justify their definition and to bring it about, and to 
place them in the position of rightful interpretations and 
keys of the remains and the records in history of the 
teaching which had so terminated. 


This line of argument is not unlike that which is 
considered to constitute a sufficient proof of truths in 


receive the same books as canonical and inspired; yet 
among those books some are to be found, which certainly 
have no right there if, following the rule of Vincentius, 
we receive nothing as of divine authority but what has 
been received always and everywhere. The degrees of 
evidence are very various for one book and another. " It is 
confessed/' says Less, " that not all the Scriptures of our 
New Testament have been received with universal consent 
as genuine works of the Evangelists and Apostles. But 
that man must have predetermined to oppose the most 
palpable truths, and must reject all history, who will not 
confess that the yreahr part of the New Testament has been 
universally received as authentic, and that the remaining 
books have been acknowledged as such by the majority of 
the ancients." 3 


For instance, as to the Epistle of St. James. It is true, 
it is contained in the old Syriac version in the second 
century; but Origen, in the third century, is the first 
writer who distinctly mentions it among the Greeks ; and 
it is not quoted by name by any Latin till the fourth. ' St. 
Jerome speaks of its gaining credit fs by degrees, in pro- 
cess of time/' Eusebius says no more than that it had 
been, up to his time, acknowledged by the majority ; and 
he classes it with the Shepherd of St. Hennas and the 
Epistle of St. Barnabas. 3 

Again : " The Epistle to the Hebrews, though received 
in the East, was not received in the Latin Churches till 
St. Jerome's time. St. Irenseus either does not affirm, or 
denies that it is St. Paul's. Tertullian ascribes it to 
St. Barnabas. Caius excludes it from his list. St. Hip- 
polytus does not receive it. St. Cyprian is silent about it. 
It is doubtful whether St. Optatus received it/' * 

3 Autbent. N. T. Tr. pu 237. 3 According to Less. 

4 Tracts for the Times, No. 85, p. 78 [Discuss, iii. 6, p. 207]. 


Aqain, St. Jerome tells u% that in his day, towards A.D. 
400, the Greek Church rejected the Apocalypse,, hut the 
Latin received it. 

Again: "The Now Testament consists of twenty-seven 
books in all, though of varying importance. Of these, 
fourteen are not mentioned at sill till from eighty to one 
hundred years after St. Joints doath, in which number 
are the Acts, the Second to the Corinthians, the Uahitiuns, 
the Colos-iuiis, the Two to theThehsalonians, and St. James. 
Of the other thirteen, five, viz. St. John's Gospel, the 
l^hilippians, the First to Timothy, the Hebrews, and the 
First of St. John are quoted bat by one writer during the 
same period.' 5 5 


On what ground, then, do we receive the Canon as it 
conies to us, but on the authority of the Church of the 
fourth and fifth centimes? The Church at that era 
decided, not merely bore testimony, but passed a judg- 
ment on former testimony, decided, that certain books 
wore of authority. And on what ground did she so 
decide ? on the ground that hitherto a decision had been 
impossible, in an age of persecution, from want of oppor- 
tunities for research, discussion, and testimony, from the 
private or the local character of some of the books, and from 
misapprehension of the doctrine contained in others. Sow. 
however, facilities were at length given for decidin-j 
once for all on what had been in suspense and doubt foi 
three centuries. On this subject I will quote anothei 
passage from the same Tract : " We depend upon the fourtl 
and fifth centuries thus : As to Scripture, former ceuturie 
do not speak distinctly, frequently, or unanimously, excep 
of some chief books, as the Gospels ; but we see in them 
as we believe, an ever-growing tendency and approximatioi 

5 [Ibid. p. 209, Tliese results are taken from Less, and are pr*.ctica21 


to that full agreement which, we find in the fifth. The 
testimony given at the latter date is the limit to which 
all that has been before said converges. For instance, it 
is commonly said, Exccptio prolat reyulam ; when we have 
reason to think that a writer or an age frotfWhave witnessed 
so and so, Int for this or that, and that this or that were 
mere accidents of his position, then he or it may be said 
to tcml towards such testimony. In this way the first 
centuries tend towards the fifth. View ing the matter as 
one of moral evidence, we seem to see in the testimony of 
the fifth the very testimony which every preceding century 
gave, accidents excepted, such as the present loss of docu- 
ments once extant, or the then existing misconceptions 
which want of intercourse between the Churches occasioned. 
The fifth century acts as a comment on the obscure text 
of the centuries before it, and brings out a meaning, which 
with the help of the comment any candid person sees 
really to be theirs " 6 

(2.) Original Sin. 

I have already remarked upon the historical fact, that 
the recognition o Original Sin, considered as the con- 
sequence of Adam's fall, was, both as regards general 
acceptance and accurate understanding, a gradual process, 
not completed till the time of Augustine and Pelagius. 
St. Ohrysostora lived close up to that date, but there are 
passages in his works, often quoted, which we should not 
expect to find worded as they stand, if they had been 
written fifty years later. It is commonly, and reasonably, 
said in explanation, that the fatalism, so prevalent in 
various shapes pagan and heretical, in the first centuries, 
was an obstacle to an accurate apprehension of the con- 
sequences of the fall, as the presence of the existing 
6 No. 85 [Discuss, p. 2CG]. 


idolatry was to the use of images. If this be so, we have 
here au instance of a doctrine hold back for a time by 
circumstances, yet in the event forcing its way into its 
normal shape, and at length authoritatively fixed in it, 
that is, of a doctrine held implicitly, then asserting itself, 
and at length fully developed. 


(3.) Infant Baptism. 

One of the passages of Si Chrysostom to which I might 
refer is this, "We baptize infants, though they arc 
not defiled with sin, that they may receive sanctity, 
righteousness, adoption, heirship, brotherhood with Christ, 
and may become His members." (Aug. contr. JnL i, 21.) 
This at least shows that he had a clear view of the impor- 
tance and duty of infant baptism, but such wasnottheca^e 
even with saints in the generation immediately before him. 
As is well known, it was not unusual in that age of the 
Church for those, who might be considered catechumens, 
to delay their baptism, as Protestants now delay reception 
of the Holy Eucharist. It is difficult for us at this day to 
enter into the assemblage of motives which led to this 
postponement; to a keen sense and awe of the special 
privileges of baptism which could only once be received, 
other reasons would be added, reluctance to bang com- 
mitted to a strict rule of life, and to making a public pro- 
fession of religion, and to joining in a specially intimate 
fellowship or solidarity with strangers. But so it was iu 
matter of fact, for reasons good or bad, that infant baptism, 
which is a fundamental rule of Christian duty with us, 
was less earnestly insisted on in early times. 


Even in the fourth century St. Gregory Fazianzen, 
St. Basil, and St. Augustine, having Christian mothers, 


still were not baptized till they were adults. St. Gregory's 
mother dedicated him to Grod immediately on his birth ; 
and agaia when he had come to years of discretion, 
with the rite of taking the gospels into his hands by 
way of consecration. He was religiously-minded from his 
youth, and had devoted himself to a single life. Yet his 
baptism did not take place till after he had attended the 
schools of Cbsarea, Palestine, and Alexandria, and was on 
his voyage to Athens. ITc hud embarked during the 
^November gales, and for twenty days his life was in danger, 
He presented himself for baptism as soon as he got to land. 
St. Basil was the son of Christian confessors on both 
father's and mother's side. His grandmother Macrina, 
who brought him up, had for seven years lived with her 
husband in the woods of Pontus during the Decian perse- 
cution. His father was said to have wrought miracles ; 
his mother, an orphan of great beauty of person, was forced 
from her unprotected state to abandon the hope of a single 
life, and was conspicuous in matrimony for her care of 
strangers and the poor, and for her offerings to the 
churches. How religiously she brought up her children 
is shown by the singular blessing, that four out of ten 
have since been canonized as Saints. St. Basil was one of 
these ; yet the child of such parents was not baptized till 
he had come to man's estate, till, according to the 
Benedictine Editor, his twenty-first, and perhaps his 
twenty-ninth, year. St. Augustine's mother, who is her- 
self a Saint, was a Christian when he was born, though 
his father was not. Immediately on his birth, he was 
made a catechumen ; in his childhood he fell ill, and asked 
for baptism. His mother was alarmed, and was taking 
measures for his reception into the Church, when he 
suddenly got better, and it was deferred. He did not 
receive baptism till the age of thirty-three, after he had 
been for nine years a victim of Hunichscan error. In like 


manner, St. Ambrose, though brought up by his mother 
and holy nuns, one of them his o\vn sister St. Marcellina, 
was not baptized till he was chosen bishop at the age of 
about thirty-four, nor his brother St. Satyrus till about 
the same age, after the serious warning of a shipwreck* 
St. Jerome too, though educated at Home, and so far under 
religious influences, as, with other boys, to be in the 
observance of Sunday, and of devotions in the catacombs, 
had no friend to bring him to baptism, till he had reached 
man's estate and had travelled. 


!N"ow how are the modern sects, which protest against 
infant baptism, to be answered by Ajiglicans with this 
iirrqy of great names in their favour ? By the later rule 
of the Church surely ; by the dicta of some later Saints, 
as by St. Chrysostom; by one or two inferences from 
Scripture ; by an argument founded on the absolute neces- 
sity of Baptism for salvation, sufficient reasons certainly, 
but impotent to reverse the fact that neither in Dalmatia 
nor in Cappadocia, neither in Rome, nor in Africa, was it 
then imperative on Christian parents, as it is now, to give 
baptism to their young children. It was on retrospect and 
after the truths of the Creed had sunk into the Christian 
mind, that the authority of such men as St. Cyprian, St. 
Chrysostom, and St. Augustine brought round the orbis 
termmm to the conclusion, which the infallible Church 
confirmed, that observance of the rite was the rule, and the 
non-observance the exception. 

(4.) Communion In one kind. 

In the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Council 
of Constance pronounced that, " though in the primitive 


Church the Sacrament" of the Eucharist "was received 
by the faithful under each kind, yet the custom has been 
reasonably introduced, for the avoiding of certain dangers 
and scandals, that it should be received by the consecrators 
under each kind, and by tho laity only under the kind of 
Bread ; since it is most firmly to be believed, and in no 
wise doubted, that the whole Body and Blood of Christ is 
truly contained as well under the kind of Biv-ad as under 
the kind of Vine." 

Kow the question is, whether the doctrine here laid 
down, and carried into effect in the usage here sanctioned, 
was entertained by the early Church, and may be con- 
sidered a just development of its principles and practices. 
I answer that, starting with the presumption that the 
Council has ecclesiastical authority, which is the point here 
to be assumed, we shall find quite enough for its defence, 
and shall be satisfied to decide in the affirmative ; we shall 
readily come to the conclusion that Communion under 
either kind is lawful, each kind conveying the full gift of 
the Sacrament. 

For instance, Scripture affords us two instances of what 
may reasonably be considered the administration of the 
form of Bread without that of Wine ; viz. our Lord's 
own example towards the two disciples at Emmau, and 
St. Paul's action at sea during the tempest. Moreover, 
St. Luke speaks of the first Christians as continuing in the 
" breaking of bread, and in prayer," and of the first day of 
the week " when they came together to "break bread." 

And again, in the sixth chapter of St. John, our Lord 
says absolutely, " He that eateth Me, even he shall live by 
Me." And, though He distinctly promises that we shall 
have it granted to us to drink His blood, as well as to 
eat His flesh ; nevertheless, not a word does He say to 
signify that, as He is the Bread from heaven and the 
living Bread, so He is the heavenly, living "Wine also. 


Again, St. Paul says that " whosoever shall eat this Bread 
or driiik this Cup of the Lord unworthily, shall bo guilty 
of tho Body and Blood of the Lord/* 

Many of the types of the Holy Eucharist, as far as they 
go, tend to the same conclusion ; as the Manna, to which 
our Lord referred, the Puschal Lamb, the Shewbivti'l, the 
sacrifices from which the blooil was poured out, and the 
miracle of the loaves, which are figures of the bread alone ; 
while the water from the rock, and the Blood from our 
Lord's side correspond to the wine without the bread. 
Others are representations of both kinds ; as Melchizedek's 
feast, and Elijah's miracle of the meal and oil. 


And, further, it certainly was the custom in the early 
Church, under circumstances, to communicate in one kind, 
as we learn from St. Cypi ian, St. Dionysius, St. Basil, St. 
Jerome, and others. For instance, St. Cyprian speaks of 
the communion of an infant under Wine, and of a woman 
under Bread ; and St. Ambrose speaks of his brother in ship- 
wreck folding the consecrated Bread in a handkerchief, and 
placing it round his neck ; and the monks and hermits in 
the desert ran hardly be supposed to have been ordinarily 
in possession of consecrated Wine as well as Bread. 
From the following Letter of St. Basil, it appears that, not 
only, the monks, but the whole laity of Egypt ordinarily 
communicated in Bread only. He seems to have been 
asked by his- correspondent, whether in time of persecution 
it was lawful, in the absence of priest or deacon, to take 
the communion " in one's own hand" that is, of course, the 
Bread ; he answers that it may be justified by the follow- 
ing parallel cases, in mentioning which he is altogether 
silent about the Cup. " It is plainly no fault," he says, 
" for long custom supplies instances enough to sanction it. 
For all the monks in the desert, where there is no priest, 

K 2 


keep the communion at home, and partake it from them- 
selves. In Alexandria too, and in Egypt, each of the laity, 
for the most part, has the Communion in his house, and ; 
when he will, he partakes it by means of himself. For 
when once the priest has celebrated the Sacrifice and 
given it, he who takes it as a whole together, and then 
partakes of it daily, reasonably ought to think that he 
partakes and receives from him who has given it." 7 It 
should be added,, that in the beginning of the Letter he 
may be interpreted to speak of communion in both kinds, 
and to say that it is " good and profitable/' 

Here we have the usage of Pontus, Egypt, Africa, and 
Milan. Spain may be added, if a late author is right in 
his view of the meaning of a Spanish Canon ; 8 and Syria, 
as well as Egypt, at least at a later date, since Nicephorus 9 
tells us that the Acephali, having no Bishops, kept the 
Bread which their last priests had consecrated, and dis- 
pensed crumbs of it every year at Easter for the purposes 
of Communion. 


But it may be said, that after all it is so very 
hazardous and fearful a measure actually to withdraw 

7 Ep. 93. I have thought it best to give an over-literal translation. 

Vid. ConciL Bracar. ap. Again-. Cone. Hisp. t. ii. p. 676. " That the 
cup was not administered at the same time is not so clear; but from the 
tenor of this first Canon in the Acts of the Third Council of Braga, which 
condemns the notion that the Host should be steeped in the chalice, we 
havo no donht that the wine was withheld from the laity. Whether cer- 
tain points of doctrine are or are not found in the Scriptures is no concern 
of the historian ; all that he has to do is religiously to follow his guides, to 
suppress or distrust nothing through partiality ."Dunftam, Hist, of Spain 
and J?ort. vol. i. p. 20i. If pro complement commuafonts in the Canon 
merely means "for the Cup," at least the Cup is spoken of as a complement; 
the same view Is contained in the "confirmation of the Eucharist," as 
spi-ken of in St. German's life. Vid. Lives of Saints, Xo. 9, p. 28. 

* JSieeph. Hist, sviii. 45. Renaudot, however, tells us of two Bishops at 
the time when the schism was at length healed. Pal;r. Al. Jac. p. 248. 
However, these had been consecrated by priests, p. 145. 


from Christians one-half of the Sacrament, that, in spite 
of thwe precedents, some direct wnrrant is ucedwl tc 
recon< k ilo the mind to it. There might have been circum- 
stances which led St. Cyprian, or St. Basil, or the Apos- 
tolical Christians before them to curtail it, about which 
we know nothing. It is not therefore safe in us, because 
it was safe in them. Certainly a warrant is necessary; 
and just such a warrant is the authority of the Church. 
If we can trust her implicitly, there is nothing in the state 
of the evidence to form an objection to her decision in this 
instance, and in proportion as we tind we can trust her 
does our difficulty lessen. Moreover, children, not to say 
infants, were at one time admitted to the Eucharist, at 
least to the Cup ; on what authority arc they now excluded 
from Cup and Bread also ? St. Augustine considered the 
usage to be of Apostolical origin; and it continued in 
the West down to the twelfth century ; it continues in 
the East among Greeks, Russo-Greeks, and the various 
Monophysite Churches to this day, and that on the 
ground of its almost universality in the primitive Church.* 
Is it a greater innovation to suspend the Cup, than to 
cut off children from Communion altogether? Yet we 
acquiesce in the latter deprivation without a scruple. It 
is safer to acquiesce with, than without, an authority; 
safer with the belief that the Church is the pillar and 
ground of the truth, than with the belief that in so great 
a matter she is likely to err. 


(5.) The Homomon. 

The next instance I shall take is from the early teaching 
on the subject of our Lord's Consubstantiality aad Co- 

1 Yid. Biag. Ant xv. 4, 7 ; aad Fleory, Hfcfc. xxvi 60, note^. 


la the controversy carried on by various learned men 
in the seventeenth and following century, concerning the 
statements of the early Fathers on this subject, the one 
party determined the patristic theology by the literal force 
of tlie separate expressions or phrases used in it, or by the 
philosophical opinions of the day ; the other, by the doc- 
trine of the Catholic Church, as afterwards authoritatively 
declared. The one parly argued that those Fathers need 
not have meant more than what was afterwards considered 
heresy ; the other answered that there is nothing to prevent 
their meaning more. Thus the position which Bull main- 
tains seems to be nothing beyond this, that the Nicene 
Creed is a natural key for interpreting the body of Ante- 
nicene theology. His very aim is to explain difficulties ; 
now the notion of difficulties and their explanation im- 
plies a rule to which they are apparent exceptions, and in 
accordance with which they are to be explained. Nay, 
the title of his work, which is a " Defence of the Creed of 
JSTic&a/' shows that he is not investigating what is true and 
what false, but explaining and justifying a foregone con- 
clusion, as sanctioned by the testimony of the great Coun- 
cil. Unless the statements of the Fathers had suggested 
difficulties, his work would have had no object. He allows 
that their language is not such as they would have used 
after the Creed had been imposed ; but he says in effect 
that, if we will but take it in our hands and apply it 
equitably to their writings, we shall bring out and har- 
monize their teaching, clear their ambiguities, and discover 
their anomalous statements to be few and insignificant. 
In other words, he begins with a presumption, and shows 
how naturally facts close round it and fall in with it, if we 
will but let them. He does this triumphantly, yet he 
has an arduous work ; out of about thirty writers whom 
he reviews, he has, for one cause or other, to "explain 
piously " nearly twenty 




Bishop Bull's controversy had regard to Ante-xiicene 
writers only, and to little more than to the doctrine of the 
Divine Son's consubstantiality and co-eternity; and, as 
being controversy, it necessarily narrows and dries up a 
large and fertile subject. Let us see whether, treated 
historically, it will not present itself to us in, various aspects 
which may rightly be called developments, as coming into 
view, one out of another, and following one after another 
by a natural order of succession. 


First then, that the language of the Ante-nicene Fathers, 
on the subject of our Lord's Divinity, may be far more 
easily accommodated to the Arian hypothesis than can the 
language of the Post-nicene, is agreed on all hands. Thus 
St. Justin speaks of the Son as subservient to the Father in 
the creation of the world, as seen by Abraham, as speaking 
to Moses from the bush, as appearing to Joshua before the 
fall of Jericho, 3 as Minister and Angel, and as numerically 
distinct from the Father. Clement, again, speaks of the 
"Word 3 as the " Instrument of God," " close to the Sole 
Almighty ;" " ministering to the Omnipotent Father's 
will ;" 4 " an energy, so to say, or operation of the Father/' 
and " constituted by His will as the cause of all good/' 5 
Again, the Council of Antioeh, which condemned Paul 
of Samosata, says that He "appears to the Patriarchs 
and converses with them, being testified sometimes to bo 
an Angel, at other times Lord, at others God ;" that, 
while " it is impious to think that the Gocl of all is called 

2 Kaye's Justin, p. 59, &c. * Kaye's Clement, p. 335. 

* p. 341. * Ib. 342. 


an Angel the Son is tie Angel of the Father."^ Formal 
proof, however, is unnecessary; had not the fact been as 
I have stated it, neither Sandius would have professed 
to differ from the Post-nicene Fathers, nor would Bull 
have had to defend the Ante-nicene. 


One principal change which took place, as time went on, 
was the following : the Ante-nicene Fathers, as in some of 
the foregoing ex tracts, speak of the Angelic visions in the 
Old Testament as if they were appearances of the Son ; but 
St. Augustine introduced the explicit doctrine, which has 
been received since his date, that they were simply Angels, 
through whom the Omnipresent Son manifested Himself. 
This indeed is the only interpretation which the Ante- 
nicene statements admitted, as soon as reason began to 
examine what they did mean. They could not mean that 
the Eternal God could really be seen by bodily eyes ; if 
anything was seen, that must have been some created glory 
or" other symbol, by which it pleased the Almighty to 
signify His Presence. What was heard was a sound, as 
external to His Essence, and as distinct from His Nature, 
as the thunder or the voice of the trumpet, which pealed 
along Mount Sinai ; what it was had not come tinder dis- 
cussion till St. Augustine ; both question and answer were 
alike undeveloped. The earlier Fathers spoke as if there 
were no medium interposed between the Creator and the 
creature, and so they seemed to make the Eternal Son 
the medium; what it really was, they had not deter- 
mined. St. Augustine ruled, aud his ruling has been 
accepted in later times, that it was not a mere atmospheric 
phenomenon, or an impression on the senses, but the 
material form proper to an Angelic presence, or the pre- 
sence of an Angel in that material garb in which blessed 
* Keliqu. Sacr. t, ii. p. 469, 470. 


Spirits do ordinarily appear to men. Henceforth the Angel 
in the bush, the Toice which spoke with Abraham, and the 
man who wrestled with Jacob, were not regarded as the 
Son of God, but as Angelic ministers, whom He employed, 
and through whom He signified His presence and Ilis will 
Thus the tendency of the controversy with the Arians was 
to raise our view of our Lord's Mediatorial acts, to impress 
them on us in thtir divine rather than their human aspect, 
and to associate them more intimately with the ineffable 
glories which surround the Throne of God. The Mediator- 
ship was no longer regarded in itself, in that prominently 
subordinate place which it had once occupied in the thoughts 
of Christians, but as an office assumed by One, who though 
having become man in order to bear it, was still God. 7 
Works and attributes, which .had hitherto been assigned 
to the Economy or to the Sonship, were now simply 
assigned to the Manhood. A tendency was also elicited, 
as the controversy proceeded, to contemplate our Lord 
more distinctly in His absolute perfections, than in His 
relation to the First Person of the Blessed Trinity. Thus, 
whereas the Nicene Creed speaks of the "Father Almighty," 
and " His Only -begotten Son, our Lord, God from God, 
Light from Light, Very God from Very God," and of the 
Holy Ghost, " the Lord and Giver of Life," we are told ia 
the Athanasian of " the Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, 
and the Holy Ghost Eternal," and that "none is afore or 
after other, none is greater or less than another/* 


The Apollinarian and llonophysite controversy^ which 
followed in the course of the next century, tended towards 
a development in the same direction. Since the heresies, 
which were in question, maintained, at least virtually, 

1 [This subject is more exactly and carefully treated in. Tracts Theol. and 
Ec-cles. pp. 192-226.] 


that our Lord was not man, it was obvious to insist on the 
passages of Scripture which describe His created and sub- 
servient nature, and this had the immediate effect of inter- 
preting of His manhood texts which had hitherto been 
understood more commonly of His Divine Sonship. Thus, 
for instance, "Uy Father is greater than I/' which had been 
understood even by St. Athanasius of our Lord as God, is 
applied by later writers more commonly to His humanity; 
and in this way the doctrine of His subordination to the 
Eternal Father, which formed so prominent a feature in 
Ante-nicene theology, comparatively fell into the shade. 


And coincident with these changes, a most remarkable 
result is discovered. The Catholic polemic, in view of the 
Arian and Honophysite errors, being of this character, 
became the natural introduction to the cultus Sanctorum; 
for in proportion as tests descriptive of created mediation 
ceased to belong to our Lord, so was a room opened for 
created mediators. Nay, as regards the instance of Angelic 
appearances itself, as St. Augustine explained them, if 
those appearances were creatures, certainly creatures were 
worshipped by the Patriarchs, not indeed in themselves, 3 
but as the token of a Presence greater than themselves. 
"When " Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon 
God/' ho hid his face before a creature ; when Jacob said, 
" I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved/' 
the Son of God was there, but what he saw, what he 
wrestled with, was an Angel. When "Joshua fell on 
his face to the earth and did worship before the captain of 
the Lord's host, and said unto him, What saith my Lord 
unto his servant?" what was seen and heard was a 

8 [They also Imd a cultus in themselves, and specially when a greater 
Presence did mi overshadow them. Vid. Via Media, vol. ii. art. iv. 8, 
note 1.] 


glorified creature, if St. Aiigu&tine is to bo followed \ and 
the Son of God was in him. 

And there were plain precedents in tho Old Testament 
for the lawfulness of such adoration. "When ** the people 
saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle-door/* " all 
the people rose up and worshipped, every man in hw font- 
door ." 9 When Daniel too saw " a certain man clothed in 
linen " " there remained no strength " in him, for his 
" comeliness was turned '* in him " into corruption.'* He 
fell down on his face, and next remained on his knees and 
hands, and at length " stood trembling/* and said " my 
Lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, ami 
I have retained no strength. Fur how can the servant of 
this my Lord talk with this my Lord ? " l It might be 
objected perhaps to this argument, that a worship which 
was allowable in an elementary system miryht be unlawful 
when "grace and truth" had come "through Jesus 
Christ ;" but then it might be retorted surely, taut that 
elementary s\ stem had been emphatically opposed to all 
idolatry, and had been minutely jealous of everything 
which might approach to favouring it. Kay, the very 
prominence given in the Pentateuch to the doctrine of a 
Creator, and the comparative silence concerning the An- 
gelic creation, and the prominence given to the Angelic 
creation in the later Prophets, taken together, were a token 
both of that jealousy, and of its cessation, as time went on. 
Nor can anything be concluded from St. Paul's censure of 
Angel worship, since the sin which he is denouncing was 
that of " not holding the Head/* and of worshipping crea- 
tures instead of the Creator as the source of good. The 
same explanation avails for passages like those in St 
Athanasius and Theodoret, in which the worship of Angela 
is discountenanced. 

Exod. xxxiii. 10. > Ban, x. 517. 



The Arian controversy had led to another development, 
which confirmed by anticipation the cultus to which St. 
Augustine's doctrine pointed. In answer to the objection 
urged against our Lord's supreme Divinity from texts 
which speak of His exaltation, St. Athanasius is led to 
insist forcibly on the benefits which have accrued to man 
through it. He says that, in truth, not Christ, but that 
human nature which He had assumed, was raised and 
glorified in Him. The more plausible was the heretical 
argument against His Divinity from those texts, the more 
emphatic is St. Athanasius's exaltation of our regenerate 
nature by way of explaining them. But intimate indeed 
roust be the connexion between Christ and His brethren, 
and high their glory, if the language which seemed to 
belong to the Incarnate Word really belonged to them. 
Thus the pressure of the controversy elicited and developed 
a truth, which till then was held indeed by Christians, but 
less perfectly realized and not publicly recognized. The 
sanetification, or rather the deification of the nature of 
man, is one main subject of St. Athanasius's theology. 
Christ, in rising, raises His Saints with Him to the right 
hand of power. They become instinct with His life, of 
one body with His flesh, divine sons, immortal kings, gods. 
He is in them, because He is in human nature; and He 
communicates to them that nature, deified by becoming 
His, that them It may deify. He is in them by the 
Presence of His Spirit, and in them He is seen. They 
have those titles of honour by participation, * which are 
properly His. Without misgiving we may apply to them 
the most sacred language of Psalmists and Prophets. 
e ' Thou art a Priest for ever " may be said of St. Polycarp 
or St. Martin as well as of their Lord. "He hath dispersed 
abroad, he hath given to the poor," was fulfilled in 


St. Laurence. "I have found David My servant/ 1 first 
said typically of the King of Israel, and belonging really to 
Christ,is transferred back again by grace to liis Vicegerent!* 
upon earth. "I have given thee the nations for thine 
inheritance" is tho prerogative of Popes; "Thou ha>t 
given him his heart's desire/' the record of a martyr ; 
" thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity/' the 
praise of Virgins. 


"As Christ," says St. Athanasius, "died, and was 
exalted as man, so, as man, is He said to take what, as 
God, He ever had, in order that even this so high a grant 
of grace might reach to us* For the Word did not suffer 
loss in receiving a body, that lie should seek to receive a 
grace, but rather He deified that which He put on, nay, 
gave it graciously to the race of man. . . . For it is the 
Father's glory, that man, made and then lost, should be 
found again ; and, when done to death, that he should be 
made alive, and should become God's temple. For whereas 
the powers in heaven, both Angels and Archangels, were 
ever worshipping the Lord,as they are now too worshipping 
Him in the Xaine of Jesus, this is our grace and high 
exaltation, that, even when He became man, the Son of 
God is worshipped, and the heavenly powers are not 
startled at seeing all of us, who are of one body with Him, 
introduced into their realms." s In this passage it is 
almost said that the glorified Saints will partake in the 
homage paid by Angels to Christ, the True Object of all 
worship ; and at least a reason is suggested to us by it for 
the Angel's shrinking in the Apocalypse from the homage 
of St. John, the Theologian and Prophet of the Church.* 
But St. Athanasius proceeds still more explicitly, " In that 

AtLan. Orafc. i. 42, Oxf. tr. * [Fit?, supr. p. 1S8, note 8.] 


the Lord, even when come in human body and called Jesus, 
was worshipped and believed to bo God's Son, and that 
through Him the Father is known, it 13 plain, as has been 
biiid, tbat, twf the Word, considered as the Word, received 
this so grout grace, lut we. For, because of our relation- 
ship to His Body, wo too have become God's temple, and 
in consequence have been nniile God's sons, so that tccn in 
tt* Me <//'>/ / note icorsbiwd) and beholders report, as the 
Apostle says, that * God is in them of a truth/ " 4 It 
appears to be distinctly stated in this passage, that those 
who are formally recognized as God's adopted sons in Christ, 
are lit objects of worship on account of Him who is in them ; 
a doctrine which both interprets and accounts for the 
invocation of Saints, the ci'Jtii* of relics, and the religious 
veneration in which even the living have sometimes been 
held, who, being saintly, wore distinguished by miraculous 
gifts. 3 Worship then is the necessary correlative of glory ; 
ti nd in the same sense in which created natures can share 
in the Creator's incommunicable glory, are they also 
allowed a share of that worship which is His property 

There was one other subject on which the Arian 
controversy had a more intimate, though not an immediate 
influence. Its tendency to give a new interpretation to 
the texts which speak of our Lord's subordination, has 
already been noticed ; such as admitted of it were hence- 
forth explained more prominently of His manhood than of 
His Mediatorship or His Sonship, But there were other 
texts which did not admit of this interpretation, and which, 

4 Athira. ibid. 

5 And so EuseMus, in liis Life of Constantino : ** The all-holy choir of 
God's perpetual virgins, he was used almost to worship (<rej8ar), believing 
that that God, to whom they had consecrated Iheuibelves, was an inhabitant 
in the souls of such." Vit. Coast, iv. 28. 


without ceasing to belong to Him, might seom more directly 
applicable to a creature than to the Creator. He indeed 
was really the " Wisdom in whom the Father eternally 
delighte'l," yet it would bo but natural, if, under the 
circumstances of Arian misbelief, theologians looked out 
for other than the Eternal Son to be the immediate object 
of such descriptions. And thus the controversy opened a 
question which it did not settle. It discovered a new 
sphere, if we may so speak, in the realms of light, to which 
the Church had riot yet assigned its inhabitant. Arianism 
had admitted that our Lord was both the God of the 
Evangelical Covenant, and the actual Creator of the 
Universe ; but even this was not enough, bocause it did 
not confess Him to be the One, Everlasting, Infinite, 
Supreme Being, but as one who was made by the Supreme. 
It was not enough in accordance with that heresy to 
proclaim Him as having- an ineffable origin before all 
worlds; not enough to place Him high above all creatures 
as the type of all the works of God's Hands ; not enough 
to make Him the King of all Saints, the Intercessor fur man 
with God, the Object of worship, the Image of the Father ; 
not enough, because it was not all, and between all and 
anything short of all, there was an infinite interval. The 
highest of creatures is levelled with the lowest in comparison 
of the One Creator Himself. That is, the Meene Council 
recognized the eventful principle, that, while we believe and 
profess any being to be made of a created nature, such a 
baing is really no God to us, though honoured by us with 
whatever high titles and with whatever homage. Arius or 
Asterius did all but confess that Christ was the Almighty; 
they said much more than St. Bernard or St. Alphonso 
have since said of the Blessed Mary ; yet they left Him a 
creature and were found wanting. Thus there was " a 
wonder in heaven : n a throne was seen, far above all other 
created powers, mediatorial, intercessory; a title archetypal ; 


a crown bright as the morning star; a glory issuing from 
the Eternal Throne ; robes pure as the heavens ; and a 
sceptre over all; and who was the predestined heir of 
that Majesty? Since it was not high enough for the 
Highest, who was that Wisdom, and what was her name, 
u the Mother of fair love, and fear, and holy hope," 
" exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and a rose-plant in 
Jericho/' "created from the beginning before the world " in 
God's everlasting counsels, and " in Jerusalem her power"? 
The vision is found in the Apoeahp^e, a Woman clothed 
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her 
head a crown of twelve stars. The votaries of Mary do not 
exceed the true faith, unless the blasphemers of her Son 
came up to it. The Church of Eome is not idolatrous, 
unle&s Ariani&in is orthodoxy. 


I am not stating conclusions which were drawn out in 
the controversy, but of premisses which were laid, broad 
and deep. It was then shown, it was then determined, 
that to exalt a creature was no recognition of its divinity. 
2Cor am I speaking of the Semi-Arians, who, holding our 
Lord's derivation from the Substance of the Father, yet 
denying His Consubstantiality, really did lie open to the 
charge of maintaining two Gods, and present no parallel 
to the defenders of the prerogatives of St. Mary. But I 
speak of the Arians who taught that the Sou's Substance 
was created ; and concerning them it is true that 
St. Athanasius's condemnation of their theology is a 
vindication of the Medieval. Yet it. is not wonderful, 
considering how Socinians, Sabellians, iXestorians, and the 
like, abound in these clays, without their even knowing it 
themselves, if those who never rise higher in their notions 
of our Lord's Divinity, than to consider Him a man 
singularly inhabited by a Divine Presence, that is, a 


Catholic Saint, if such men should mistake the honour 
paid by the Church to the human. Mather for that very 
honour which, and which alone, is worthy of her Eternal 


I have said that there was in the first ages no public and 
ecclesiastical recognition of the place which St. Mary holds 
in the Economy of grace ; this was reserved for the fifth 
century, as the definition of our Lord's proper Divinity had 
been the work of the fourth. There was a controversy 
contemporary with those already mentioned, I mean the 
JsTestorian, which brought out the complement of the 
development, to which they had been subservient ; and 
which, if I may so speak, supplied the subject of that 
august proposition of which Arianism had provided the 
predicate. In order to do honour to Christ, in order to 
defend the true doctrine of the Incarnation, in order to 
secure a right faith in the manhood of the Eternal Son, 
the Council of Ephesus determined the Blessed Virgin to 
be the Mother of God. Thus all heresies of that day, 
though opposite to each other, tended in a most, wonderful 
way to her exaltation ; and the School of Antioch, the 
fountain of primitive rationalism, led the Church to deter- 
mine first the conceivable greatness of a creature, and then 
the incommunicable dignity of the Blessed Virgin, 


But the spontaneous or traditional feeling of Christians 
had in great measure anticipated the formal ecclesiastical 
decision. Thus the title Theotocos, or Mother of God, was 
familiar to Christians from primitive times, and had been 
used, among other writers, by Origen, Eusebius, St. Alex- 
ander, St.Athanasius, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory Nazianzen, 
St. Gregory Nyssen, and St. Kxlus. She had been called 


Ever* Virgin by others, as by St.Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and 
Didymus. By others, " the Mother of all living/' as being 
the antitype of Eve ; for, as St. Eplphanius observes, " in 
truth/* not in shadow, " from Mary was Life itself brought 
into the world, that Mary might bear things living, and 
might become Mother of living things/' 5 St. Augustine 
says that all have sinned " except the Holy Virgin Mary, 
concerning whom, for the honour of the Lord, I wish no 
question to be raised at all, when we are treating of sins." 
" She was alone and wrought the world's salvation/' says 
St. Ambrose, alluding to her conception of the Eedeemer. 
She is signified by the Pillar of the cloud which guided the 
Israelites, according to the same Father; and she had *' so 
great grace, as not only to have virginity herself, but to 
impart it to those to whom she came /' " the Bod out of 
the stem of Jesso/* says St. Jerome, and "the Eastern gate 
through which the High Priest alone goes in and out, yet 
is ever shut;" the wise woman, says St. Nilus, who "hath 
clad all believers, from the fleeco of the Lamb born of 
her, with the clothing of ineorruption, and delivered them 
from their spiritual nakedness ;" " the Mother of Life, 
of beauty, of majesty, the Morning Star/' according to 
Antiochus ; " the mystical new heavens/* " the heavens 
carrying the Divinity," " the fruitful vine by whom we 
are translated from death unto life/* according to St. 
Ephraim 5-7-" the manna which is delicate, bright, sweet, 
and virgin, which, as though coming from heaven, has 
poured down on all the people of the Churches a food 
pleasanter than honey," according to St, Haximus. 

St. Proclus calls her "the unsullied shell which contains 
the pearl of price/* fc the sacred shrine of sinlessuess," " the 
golden altar of holocaust," " the holy oil of anointing," 
"the costly alabaster box of spikenard," "the ark gilt 
within and without/' " the heifer whose ashes, that is, the 
Itor. 78, 18. 


Lord's Body takon from her, cleanses those who are defile i 
by the pollution of sin/' " the fair bride of the Canticles/' 
" the stay (a-n/ppy/ja) of believers/' " the Church's diadem/' 
"the expression of orthodoxy." These are oratorical 
expressions ; but we use oratory on great subjects, not on 
small. Elsewhere he calls her " God's only bridge to man ; " 
and elsewhere he breaks forth, " Run through till creation, 
in your thoughts, and see if there be equal to, or greater 
than, the Holy Virgin Mother of God." 


Theodotns too, one of the Fathers of Ephesus. or whoever 
it is whose Homilies are given to St. Amphilochius : fc As 
debtors and God's well-affected servants, let us make con- 
fession to God the Word and to His Mother, of the gift of 
words, as far as we are able. . . Hail, Mother, clad in light, 
of the light which sets not; hail all-undefiled mother of 
holiness; hail most pellucid fountain of the life-giving 
stream ! " After speaking of the Incarnation, he con- 
tinues, " Such paradoxes doth the Divine Virgin Mother 
ever bring to us in her holy irradiations, for with her is 
the Fount of Life, and breasts of the spiritual and guile- 
less milk ; from which to suck the sweetness, we have even 
Inow earnestly run to her, not as in forgetfulness of what 
hus gone before, but in desire of what is to come." 

To St. Fulgentius is ascribed the following: "Mary 
became the window of heaven, for God through her poured 
the True Light upon the world ; the heavenly ladder, for 

through her did God descend upon earth Come, 

ye virgins, to a Virgin, come ye who conceive to one who 
did conceive, yc who bear to one who bore, mothers to a 
Mother, ye who give suck to one who suckled, young 
women to the Young/' Lastly, " Thou hast found grace/* 
says St. Peter Chrvsologus, "how much? lie had said 

L 2 


above, Full. And full indeed, which with full shower 
might pour upon and into the whole creation." 7 

Such was the state of sentiment on the subject of the 
Blessed Virgin, which the Arian, Nestorian, and Mono- 
physite heresies found in the Church ; and on which the 
doctrinal decisions consequent upon them impressed a form 
and a consistency which has been handed on in the East 
and West to this day. 



I will take one instance more. Let us see how, on the 
principles which I have been laying down and defending, 
the evidence lies for the Pope's Supremacy. 

As to this doctrine the question is this, whether there 
was not from the first a certain element at work, or in 
existence, divinely sanctioned, which, for certain reasons, 
did not at once show itself upon the surface of ecclesiastical 

7 Aug. do Nat. ct Grat. 42. Ambros. Ep. 1, 49, 2. In Psalm 118, 
y. 3. cle Instit. Virg. 50, Hier. in Is. xi, 1, eontr. Pelag. ii. 4. Nil. Ep. i. 
p. 267, Antioeh. ap. Cyr. de licet. Fid. p, 49. Ephr. Opp. Syr. t. 3, p. 607. 
Max. Horn. 45. Procl. Orat. vi. pp. 225 238, p. 60, p. 179, 180, cd. 1630. 
Theodot. ap. Ampliilocli. pp. 39, e. Fulgent. Sena. 3, p. 125. Chrysol. 
Serin. 142. A striking passage from another Sermon of tlic last-mentioned 
author, on the words " She cast in her mind what manner of salutation," &c., 
may be added : " Qiiantus sit Deus satis ignorat ille, qui hujus Virginia 
mentem non stupet, ammum non miratur. Pavet coiilum, treniunt Angeli, 
creatura non sustinet, natura non sufficit ; et una puella sic Deum in sui 
pectoris capit, recipifc, oblectat hospitio, tit pacem torris, coolis gloriam, 
sulutem porditis, vitam mortuis, terrenis cum ccelestibus parentelam, ipsius 
Dei cum carne commcrchim, pro ipsa domus oxigat pcnsione, pro ipsins 
uteri mcrcede conquirat," &c. Serm. 140. [St. Basil, St. Chrysostom, and 
St. Cyril of Alexandria sometimes speak, it is true, in a different tone ; on 
this subject vid. Letter to Dr. Pusey," Note iii., DiE of Angl. vol. 2.] 


affairs, and of which events in the fourth century are the 
development; and whether the evidence of its existence 
and operation, which does occur in the earlier centuries, 
be it much or little, is not j ust such as ought to occur upon 
such an hypothesis. 


For instance, it is true, St. Ignatius is silent in his 
Epistles on the subject of the Pope's authority; but if 
in fact that authority could not be in active operation 
then, such silence is not so difficult to account for as the 
silence of Seneca or Plutarch about Christianity itself, or 
of Lucian' about the Roman people. St. Ignatius directed 
his doctrine according to the need. "While Apostles were on 
earth, there was the display neither of Bishop nor Pope ; 
their power had no prominence, as being exercised by 
Apostles. In course of time, first the power of the Bishop 
displayed itself, and then the power of the Pope. "When 
the Apostles were taken away, Christianity did not at once 
break into portions ; yet separate localities might begin to 
be the scene of internal dissensions, and a local arbiter in 
consequence would be wanted. Christians at home did 
not yet quarrel with Christians abroad ; they quarrelled at 
home among themselves. St. Ignatius applied the fitting 
remedy. The Sacmnientum Unitatis was acknowledged on 
all hands ; the mode of fulfilling and the means of securing 
it would vary with the occasion ; and the determination of 
its essence, its seat, and its laws would be a gradual supply 
for a gradual necessity. 


This is but natural, and is parallel to instances which 
happen daily, and may be so considered without prejudice to 
the divine right whether of the Episcopate or of the Papacy. 
It is a common occurrence for a quarrel and a lawsuit to 


bring out the state of the law, and then the most unexpected 
results often follow. St. Peter's prerogative would remain 
a mere letter, till the complication of ecclesiastical matters 
became the cause of ascertaining it. While Christians were 
t of one heart and one soul/' it would be suspended ; love 
dispenses with laws. Christians knew that they must live 
in unity, and they were in unity ; in what that unity con- 
sisted, how far they could proceed, as it were, in bending 
it, and what at length was the point at which it broke, 
was an irrelevant as well as unwelcome inquiry. Relatives 
often live together in happy ignorance of their respective 
rights and properties, till a father or a husband dies ; and 
then they find themselves against their will in separate 
interests, and on divergent courses, and dare not move 
without legal advisers. Again, the case is conceivable of u 
corporation or an Academical body, going on for centuries 
in the performance of the routine-business which came in its 
way, and preserving a good understanding betweenits mem- 
bers, with statutes almost a dead letter and no precedents to 
explain them, and the rights of its various classes and 
functions undefined, then of its being suddenly thrown 
back by the force of circumstances upon the question of 
its formal character as a body politic, and in conscqucnco 
developing in the relation of governors and governed. 
The regalia Pctrl might sleep, as the power of a Chancellor 
has slept ; not as an obsolete, for they never had been carried 
into effect, but as a mysterious privilege, which was not 
understood ; as an unfulfilled prophecy. For St. Ignatius 
to speak of Popes, when it was a matter of Bishops, would 
have been like sending an army to arrest a housebreaker. 
The Bishop's power indeed was from God, and tho Popc/a 
could be no more ; he, as well as the Pope, was our Lord's 
representative, and had a sacramental office : but I am 
speaking, not of the intrinsic sanctity or divinity of such 
an office, but of its duties. 



When the Church, then, was thrown upon her own 
resources, first local disturbances gave exercise to Bishops, 
and next ecumenical disturbances gave exercise to Popes ; 
and whether communion with the Pope was necessary for 
Catholicity would not and could not be debated till a sus- 
pension of that communion had actually occurred. It is 
not a greater difficulty that St. Ignatius does not write to 
the Asian Greeks about Popes, than that St. Paul does not 
write to the Corinthians about Bishops. And it is a less 
difficulty that the Papal supremacy was not formally 
acknowledged in the second century, than that there was 
no formal acknowledgment on the part of the Church of 
the doctrine of the Holy Trinity till the fourth. No 
doctrine is defined till it is violated. 

And, in like manner, it was natural for Christians to 
direct their course in matters of doctrine by the guidance 
of mere floating, and, as it were, endemic tradition, while 
it was fresh and strong ; but in proportion as it languished, 
or was broken in particular places, did it become necessary 
to fall back upon its special homes, first the Apostolic Sees, 
and then the See of St. Peter. 


Moreover, an international bond and a common authority 
could not be consolidated, were it over so certainly pro- 
vided, while persecutions lasted. If the Imperial Power 
checked the development of Councils, it availed also for 
keeping back the power of the Papacy. The Creed, the 
Canon, in like manner, both remained undefined. The 
Creed, the Canon, the Papacy, Ecumenical Councils, all 
began to form, as soon as the Empire relaxed its tyrannous 
oppression of the Church. And as it was natural that her 
monarchical power should display itself when the Empire 
became Christian, so was it natural also that further 


developments of that power should take place when that 
Empire fell. Moreover, when the power of the Holy See 
began to exert itself, disturbance and collision would be 
the necessary consequence. Of the Temple of Solomon, it 
was said that "neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of 
iron was heard in the houso, while it was in building/' 
This is a type of the Church above ; it was otherwise with 
the Church below, whether in the instance of Popes or 
Apostles. In cither case, a new power had to be defined ; 
as St. Paul had to plead, nay, to strive for his apostolic 
authority, and enjoined St. Timothy, as Bishop of Ephesus, 
to let no man despise him : so Popes too have not there- 
fore been ambitious because they did not establish their 
authority without a struggle. It was natural that Poly- 
crates should oppose St. Victor; and natural too that fit. 
Cyprian should both extol the See of St. Peter, yet resist 
it when he thought it went beyond its province. And at 
a later day it was natural that Emperors should rise in 
indignation against it; and natural, on the other hand, 
that it should talfe higher ground with a younger power 
than it had taken with an elder and time-honoured. 


"We may follow Barrow here without reluctance, except 
in his imputation of motives. 

"In the first times/' he says, "while the Emperors 
were pagans, their [the Popes'] pretences were suited to 
their condition, and could not soar high ; they were not 
then so mad as to pretend to any temporal power, and a 
pittance of spiritual eminency did content them." 

Again : " The state of tho most primitive Church did 
not well admit such an universal sovereignty. For that 
did consist of small bodies incoherently situated, and scat- 
tered about in very distant places, and consequently unfit 
to be modelled into ono political society > or to be governed 


by one head, especially considering their condition undei 
persecution and poverty. What conyenient resort fot 
direction or justice could a few distressed Christians in 
Egypt, Ethiopia, Parthia, India, Mesopotamia, Syria, 
Armenia, Oappadocia, and other parts, have to Rome ! " 

Again : " Whereas no point avowed by Christians could 
be so apt to raise offence and jealousy in pagans against 
our religion as this, which setteth up a power of so vast 
extent and huge influence ; whereas no novelty could be 
more surprising or startling than the creation of an 
universal empire over the consciences and religious practices 
of men ; whereas also this doctrine could not be but yery 
conspicuous and glaring in ordinary practice, it is pro- 
digious that all pagans should not loudly exclaim against 
it/' that is, on the supposition that the Papal power really 
was then in actual exercise. 

And again : " It is most prodigious that, in the disputes 
managed by the Fathers against heretics, the Gnostics, 
Valentinians, &c., they should not, even in the first place, 
allege and urge the sentence of the universal pastor and 
judge, as a most evidently conclusive argument, as the 
most efficacious and compendious method of convincing and 
silencing them." 

Once more : " Even Popes themselves have shifted their 
pretences, and varied in style, according to the different 
circumstances of time, and their variety of humours, 
designs, interests. In time of prosperity, and upon advan- 
tage, when they might safely do it, any Pope almost would 
talk high and assume much to himself ; but when they were 
low, or stood in four of powerful contradiction, even the 
boldest Popes would speak submissively or moderately/' 8 
On the whole, supposing the power to be divinely 
bestowed, yet in the iirst instance more or less dormant, a 
history could not bo traced out more probable, more suitable 
8 Pope's Suprcm. cd. 183G, pp, 20, 27, 157, 171, 222, 


to that hypothesis, than the actual course of the con- 
troversy which took place age after age upon the Papal 


It will be said that all this is a theory. Certainly it is: 
it is a theory to account for facts as they lie in the history, 
to account for so much being told us about the Papal 
authority in early times, and not more ; a theory to recon- 
cile what is and what is not recorded about it ; and, which 
is the principal point, a theory to connect the words and 
acts of the Anto-nicene Church with that antecedent pro- 
bability of a monarchical principle in the Divine Scheme, 
and tliat actual exemplification of it in the fourth century, 
which forms their presumptive interpretation. All depends 
on the strength of that presumption. Supposing there be 
otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy 
is part of Christianity, there is nothing in the early history 
of the Church to contradict it. 


It follows to inquire in what this presumption consists ? 
It has, as I have said, two parts, the antecedent probability 
of a Popodom, and the actual state of the Post-nicene 
Church. The former of these reasons has unavoidably 
been touched upon in what has preceded. It is the 
absolute need of a monarchical power in the Church which 
is our ground ibr anticipating it. A political body cannot 
exist without government, and the larger is the body the 
more concentrated must the government be. If the whole 
of Christendom is to form one Kingdom, ono head is 
essential; at least this is the experience of eighteen 
hundred years. As the Church grew into form, so did the 
power of the Pope develope ; and wherever the Pope has 
been renounced, decay and division have been the conse- 
quence. We know of no other way of preserving the 


Sacramenf'Um Unitatis, but a centre of unity. The Nesto- 
rians have had their " Oatholicus ;" the Lutherans of 
Prussia have their general superintendent; even the 
Independents, I believe, have had an overseer in their 
Missions. The Anglican Church affords an observable 
illustration of this doctrine. As her prospects have opened 
and her communion extended, the See of Canterbury has 
become the natural centre of her operations. It has at 
the present time jurisdiction in the Mediterranean, at 
Jerusalem, in Hindostan, in North America, at the Anti- 
podes. It has been the organ of communication, when a 
Prime Minister would force the Church to a redistribution 
of her property, or a Protestant Sovereign abroad would 
bring her into friendly relations with his own communion. 
Eyes have been lifted up thither in. times of perplexity ; 
thither have addresses been directed and deputations sent. 
Thence issue the legal decisions, or the declarations in Par- 
liament, or the letters, or the private interpositions, which 
shape the fortunes of the Church, and are the moving 
influence within her separate dioceses. It must be so ; 
no Church can do without its Pope. We see before 
our eyes the centralizing process by which the See of St. 
Peter became the Sovereign Head of Christendom. 

If such be the nature of the case, it is impossible, if we 
may so speak reverently, that an Infinite Wisdom, which 
sees the end from the beginning, in decreeing the rise of 
an universal Empire, should not have decreed the develop- 
ment of a sovereign ruler. 

Moreover, all this must be viewed in the light of the 
general probability, so much insisted on above, that doctrine 
cannot but develope as time proceeds and need arises, and 
that its developments are parts of the Divine system, and 
that therefore it is lawful, or rather necessary, to interpret 
the words and deeds of the earlier Church by the deter- 
minate teaching of the later. 



And, on the other hand, as the counterpart of these 
anticipations, we are met by certain anno im cements in 
Scripture, more or less obscure and needing a comment, 
and claimed by the Papal See as having their fulfilment 
in itself. Such are the words, " Thou art Peter, and upon 
this rock I will build My Church ; and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto Thee the 
Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." Again : "Feed My 
lambs, feed My bLeep." And " Satan hath desired to have 
you ; I have prayed for thee, and when thou art converted, 
strengthen thy brethren." Such, too, are various other 
indications of the Divine purpose as regards St. Peter, 
too weak in themselves to be insisted on separately, but 
not without a confirmatory power ; such as his new 
name, his walking on the sea, his miraculous draught 
of fa'shes on two occasions, our Lord's preaching out of 
his boat, and His appearing lirst to him after His resur- 

It should be observed, moreover, that a similar promise 
was made by the patriarch Jacob to J udah : " Thou art he 
whom thy brethren shall praise : the sceptre shall not 
depart from Judah till Shiloh come/' yet this promise 
was not fulfilled for perhaps eight hundred years, during 
which long period wo hear little or nothing of the tribe 
descended from him. In liko monitor, " On this rock I 
will build My Church/' " I give unto thee the Keys," "Food 
My sheep," arc not preccptn merely, but prophecies and 
promises, promises to be accomplished by Him who made 
them, prophecies to be fulfilled according lo the need, and 
to be interpreted by the event, by tho history, that is, of 
tho fourth and fifth centuries, though they had a partial 
fulfilment even in the preceding period, and a still more 
noble development in tho middle ages. 



A partial fulfilment, or at least indications of what was 
to be, there certainly were in the first age. Paint one by 
one, at least they are various, and are found in writers of 
many times and countries, and thereby illustrative of each 
other, and forming a body of proof. Thus St. Clement, in 
the name of the Church of Borne, writes to the Corinthians, 
when they were without a bishop ; St. Ignatius of Antioch 
addresses the Eoman Church, out of the Churches to which 
he writes, as "the Church, which has in dignity the first 
seat, of the city of the Romans," 9 and implies that it 
was too high for his directing as being the Church of St. 
Peter and St. Paul. St. Poly carp of Smyrna has recourse to 
the Bishop of Rome on the question of Easter; the heretic 
Marcion, excommunicated in Pontus, betakes himself to 
Rome ; Soter, Bishop of Rome, sends alms, according to the 
custom of his Chxirch, to the Churches throughout the empire, 
and,in the words of Eus'ebius, "affectionately exhorted those 
who came to Rome, as a father his children ;" the Mon- 
tanists from Phrygia come to Rome to gain the countenance 
of its Bishop ; Praxeas, from Asia, attempts the like, and 
for a while is successful ; St. Victor, Bishop of Rome, 
threatens to excommunicate the Asian Churches; St. 
Irenscus speaks of Rome as "the greatest Church, the most 
ancient, the most conspicuous, and founded and established 
by Peter and Paul/' appeals to its tradition, not in contrast 
indeed, but in preference to that of other Churches, and 
declares that " to this Church, every Church, that is, the 
faithful from every side must resort " or ' ' must agree with 
it, proper potiorem printipalitatem" " Church, happy in 
its position," says Tertullian, "into which the Apostles 
poured out, together with their blood, their whole doctrine/' 
and elsewhere, though in indignation and bitter mockery, 
he calls the Pope " the Pontifex Maximus, the Bishop of 

9 T}TIS /cal 7rpo/c<0ijT(U IK r6iru> 


Bishops/' The presbyters of St. Dionysius, Bishop of 
Alexandria, complain of his doctrine to St. Diony&ius of 
Rome; the latter expostulates with him, and he explains. 
The Emperor Aureliaa leaves " to the Bishops of Italy and 
of Rome" the decision, whether or not Paul of Samosata 
shall be dispossessed of the see-house at Antioch ; St. Cyprian 
speaks of Home as " tho See of Peter and the principal 
Church, whence the unity o the priesthood took its rise, , . 
whose faith has been commended by tho Apostles, to whom 
faithlessness can have no access;" St. Stephen refuses to 
receive St. Cyprian's deputation, and separates himself from 
various Churches of the East; Fortunatus and Felix, 
deposed by St. Cyprian, have recourse to I tome ; Basilides, 
deposed in Spain, betakes himself to Home, and gains the 
ear of St. Stephen. 


St. Cyprian had his quarrel with the Roman See, but it 
appears he allows to it the title of the " Cathedra Petri," 
and even Firm Hi an is a witness that Rome claimed it. In 
the fourth and fifth centuries this title and its logical results 
bc-came prominent. Thus St. Julius (A.D. JJ-i^) remonstrated 
by letter with the Eusebian party for "proceeding on 
their own authority as they pleased/' and then, as he says, 
"desiring to obtain our comwrrenco iu their decisions, 
though wo never condemned [Athanasiiw]. Not so have 
the constitutions of Paul, not. so have tho traditions of the 
Fathers directed ; this is another form of procedure, a novel 
practice. . . . For what we have received from the blessed 
Apostle Peter, that I signify to you; and I should not 
have written this, as deeming that those things are manifest 
unto all men, had not thcne proceedings HO disturbed us." 10 
St. Athanasius, by preserving this protest, has given it his 
sanction. Moreover, it is referred to by Socrates ; and his 
account of it has the more force, because he happens to bo 

w Atluui. Hist. Tracts. Oxi', fcr. y. GO. 


incorrect in the details, and therefore did not borrow it 
from St. Athanasius : " Julius wrote back/' he says, " that 
they acted against the Canons, because they had not called 
him to the Council, the Ecclesiastical Canon command- 
ing that the Churches ought not to make Canons beside 
the will of the Bishop of Rome/' 1 And Sozomen: "It 
was a sacerdotal law, to declare invalid whatever was 
transacted beside the will of the Bishop of the Romans/' 2 
On the other hand, the heretics themselves, whom St. 
Julius withstands, are obliged to acknowledge that Rome 
was " the School of the Apostles and the Metropolis of 
orthodoxy from the beginning;" and two of their leaders 
(Western Bishops indeed) some years afterwards recanted 
their heresy before the Pope in terms of humble confession. 


Another Pope, St. Damasus, in his letter addressed to 
the Eastern Bishops against Apollinaris (A.D. 382), calls 
those Bishops his sons. " In that your charity pays the 
due reverence to the Apostolical Soe, ye profit yourselves 
the most, most honoured sons. For if, placed as we are 
in that Holy Church, in which the Holy Apostle sat and 
taught, how it becometh us to direct the helm to which we 
have succeeded, we nevertheless confess, ourselves unequal 
to that honour ; yet do we therefore study as we may, if 
so be we may be able to attain to the glory of his blessed- 
ness/' 3 "I speak," says St. Jerome to the same St. 
Damasus, " with the successor of the fisherman and the 
disciple of the Cross. I, following no one as my chief but 
Christ, am associated in communion with thy blessedness, 
that is, with the See of Peter. I know that on that rock 
the Church is built. Whosoever shall eat the Lamb out- 
side this House is profane ; if a mau be not in the Ark of 

1 Hist. ii. 17. 2 Hist. iii. 10. 

s Theod. Hist. v. 10. 



Noe, he shall perish when the flood comes in its power/' 
St. Basil entreats St. Damasus to send persons to arbitrate 
between the Churches of Asia Minor, or at least to make g 
report on the authors of their troubles, and name the partj 
with which the Pope should hold communion. " We arc 
in no wise asking anything new/ 9 he proceeds, " but whal 
was customary with blessed and religious men of formei 
times, and especially with yourself. For we know, by 
tradition of our fathers of whom we have inquired, and 
from the information of writings still preserved among us, 
that Diouysius, that most blessed Bishop, while he was 
eminent among you for orthodoxy and other virtues, sent 
letters of visitation to our Church at Coosarea, and of con- 
solation to oar fathers, with ransomers of our brethren 
from captivity." In like manner, Ambrosiaster, a Pelagian 
in his doctrine, which here is not to the purpose, speak* 
of the "Church being God's house, whose, ruler at this 
lime is DUIDUSUS." B 


" "We bear," says St. Siricius, another Pope (A.D. 385) 
" tlio burden of all who are laden ; yea, rather the blcssec 
Apostle Peter beareth them in us, who, as we irust, in al 
things protects and defends us the heirs of his govern- 
ment/' c And ho in turn is confirmed by St. Optatus 
" You cannot deny your knowledge/' says the latter tc 
Parmcnian, the Donutist,, "that, in the city Rome, or 
Peter first hath an Episcopal See been conferred, in whict 
Peter sat, the head of all the Apostles, . , . in which one 
See unity might bo preserved by all, lost the other Apostles 
should support their respective Soes; in order that he 
might be at once a schismatic and a sinner, who against 
that one See (ttwf/ularem) placed a second. Therefore thai 

* Coustaut, Epp. Pont. p. 646. * In 1 Tim. ill 14, 15. 

* Constant, p. 624. 


one See (umcam), which is the first of the Church's pre- 
rogatives; Peter filled first ; to whom succeeded Linus ; to 
Linus, Clement; to Clement, &c. 3 &c. ... to Damasus, 
Siricius, who at this day is associated with us (socius), 
together with whom the whole world is in accordance with 
-us, in the one bond of communion, by the intercourse of 
letters of peace." 7 

Another Pope: "Diligently and congruously do ye 
consult the arcana of the Apostolical dignity," says St. 
Innocent to the Council of Milevis (A.D. 417), " the dignity 
of him on whom, beside those things which are without, 
falls the care of all the Churches ; following the form of 
the ancient rule, which you know, as well as I, has been 
preserved always by the whole world." 8 Here the Pope 
appeals, as it were, to the Rule of Vincentius ; while St. 
Augustine bears witness that he did not outstep his Prero- 
gative, for, giving an account of this and another letter, 
he says, " He [the Pope] answered us as to all these 
matters as it was religious and becoming in the Bishop of 
the Apostolic See." 9 

Another Pope : " We have especial anxiety about all 
persons/' says St. Celestine (A.D. 425), to the Illyrian 
Bishops, u on whom, in the holy Apostle Peter, Christ 
conferred the necessity of making all men our care, when 
He gave him the Keys of opening and shutting." And 
St. Prosper, his contemporary, confirms him, when he calls 
Rome " the seat of Peter, which, being made to the world 
the head of pastoral honour, possesses by religion what it 
does not possess by arms ;" and Tincent of Lerins, whea 
he calls the Pope " the head of the world." l 


Another Pope: "Blessed Peter," says St. Leo (A.D. 
440, &c.), "hath not deserted the helm of the Church 

" ii. 3. 8 Constant, pp. 896, 1064 

9 Ep. 186, 2. * Be Ingrat. 2. Common. 41. 


which he had assumed. . . His power lives and his 
authority is pre-eminent in his See." 2 " That immove- 
ableness, which, from the Rock Christ 3 he, when made a 
rock, received, has been communicated also to his heirs." 3 
And as St. Athanasius and the Eusebians, by their con- 
temporary testimonies, confirm St. Julius ; and St. Jerome, 
St. Basil ; and Ambrosias ter, St. Damasus ; and St. Optatus, 
St. Siricius ; and St. Augustine, St. Innocent ; and St. 
Prosper and Vincent, St. Celestine; so do St. Peter 
Chrysologus, and the Council of Chalcedon confirm St. 
Leo. " Blessed Peter/* says Chrysologus, " who lives and 
presides in his own See, supplies truth of faith to those 
who seek it." 4 And the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, 
addressing St. Leo respecting Dioscorus, Bishop of Alex- 
andria: "He extends his madness oven against him to 
whom the custody of the vineyard has been committed by 
the Saviour, that is, against thy Apostolical holiness." 5 
But llio instance of St. Leo will occur again in a later 


The acts of the fourth century speak as strongly as its 
words. , We may content ourselves here with Barrow's 
admissions : 

" The Dope's power/' ho says, c< was much amplified by 
the import unity of persons condemned or extruded from 
their places, whether upon just accounts, or wrongfully, 
and by faction ; for they, finding no other more hopeful 
place of refugo and rcdrcsw, did ol'ten apply to him ; for 
what will not men do, whither will not they go in straits ? 
Thus did Marcion go to Home, and sue for admission to 
communion there. So Forlunatus and Felicissimus in 
St. Cyprian, bohig condemned in A Me, did fly to Rome 

Serm T)< Natal, iii. 3. * Ibid. v. 4. 

4 Ep. ad But ych. flu. 3 Ccmcil Hard. t. ii. p. 656. 


for shelter ; of wliicli absurdity St. Cyprian doth so com- 
plain. So likewise Martianus and Basilides in St. Cyprian, 
being outed of their Sees for having lapsed from the 
Christian profession, did fly to Stephen for succour, to be 
restored. So Maximus, the Cynic, went to Borne, to get 
a confirmation of his election at Constantinople. So llar- 
cellus, being rejected for heterodoxy, went thither to get 
attestation to his orthodoxy, of which St. Basil complaineth* 
So Apiarus, being condemned in Afric for his crimes, did 
appeal to Borne. And, on the other side, Athanasius being 
with great partiality condemned by the Synod of Tyre ; 
Paulus and other bishops being extruded from their 
sees for orthodoxy ; St. Chrysostom being condemned and 
expelled by Theophilus and his complices; Flavianus 
being deposed by Dioscorus and the Ephesine synod; 
Theodoret being condemned by the same ; did cry out for 
help to Borne. Chelidonius, Bishop of Besanon, being 
deposed by Hilarius of Aries for crime, did fly to Pope 

Again : " Our adversaries do oppose some instances of 
popes meddling in the constitution of bishops ; as, Pope 
Leo I. saith, that Anatolius did f by the favour of his 
assent obtain the bishopric of Constantinople.' The same 
Pope is alleged as having confirmed Maximus of Antioch. 
The same doth write to the Bishop of Thessalonica, his 
vicar, that he should ' confirm the elections of bishops by 
his authority/ He also confirmed Donatus, an African 
bishop : * We will that Donatus preside over the Lord's 
flock, upon condition that he remember to send us an 
account of his faith/ . . Pope Damasus did confirm the 
ordination of Peter Alexandrinus." 


And again : "The Popes indeed in the fourth century 
began to practise a fine trick, very serviceable to the 

M 2 


enlargement of their power ; which was to confer on 
certain bishops, as occasion served, or for continuance, the 
title of their vicar or lieutenant, thereby pretending to 
impart authority to them ; whereby they were enabled for 
performance of divers things, which otherwise by their 
own episcopal or metropolitical power they could not 
perform. By which device they did engage such bishops 
to such a dependence on them, whereby they did promote 
the papal authority in provinces, to the oppression of the 
ancient rights and liberties of bishops and synods, doing 
what they pleased under pretence of this vast power com- 
municated to them ; and for fear of being displaced, or 
out of affection to their favourer, doing what might serve 
to advance the papacy. Thus did Pope Oelestine con- 
stitute Cyril in his room. Pope Leo appointed Anatolius 
of Constantinople ; Pope Felix, Acacius of Constantinople. 
. * . . Pope Simplicius to Zeno, Bishop of Seville : ' We 
thought it convenient that you should be held up by the 
vicariut authority of our see/ 80 did Siricius and his 
successors constitute the bishops of Thessalonica to be their 
vicars in the diocese of Illyricum, wherein being then a 
member of the western empire they had caught a special 
jurisdiction; to which Pope Loo did refer in those words, 
which sometimes are impertinently alleged with reference 
to all bishops, but concern only Anastasius, Bishop of 
Thessalonica : e We have entrusted thy charity to be in. 
our stead ; so that thou art called into part of the solicitude, 
aot into plenitude of the authority/ So did PopeZosimus 
bestow a like pretence of vicarious power upon the Bishop 
of Aries, which city was the seat of the temporal exarch 
in Gaul."* 


More ample testimony for the Papal Supremacy, as now 
* Barrow on the Supremacy, cd. 1836, pp, 2G3, 331, 384 


professed by Roman Catholics, is scarcely necessary than 
what is contained in these passages ; the simple questibn 
is, whether the clear light of the fourth and fifth centuries 
may be fairly taken to interpret to us the dim, though 
definite, outlines traced in the preceding. 







I HAVE been engaged in drawing out the positive and 
direct argument in proof of the intimate connexion, or 
rather oneness, with primitive Apostolic teaching, of the 
body of doctrine known at this day by the name of Catholic, 
and professed substantially both by Eastern and Western 
Christendom. That faith is undeniably the historical 
continuation of the religious system, which bore the name 
of Catholic in the eighteenth century, in the seventeenth, 
in the sixteenth, and so back in every preceding century, 
till we arrive at the first ; undeniably the successor, the 
representative, the heir of the religion of Cyprian, Basil, 
Ambrose and Augustine. The only question that can be 
raised is whether the said Catholic faith, as now held, is 
logically, as well as historically, the representative of the 
ancient faith. This then is the subject, to which I have 
as yet addressed myself, and I have maintained that 
modern Catholicism is nothing else but simply the legiti- 
mate growth and complement, that is, the natural and 
necessary development, of the doctrine of the early church, 
and that its divine authority is included in the divinity of 


So far I have gone, but an important objection presents 
itself for distinct consideration, It may be said in answer 


to me that it is not enough that a certain large system 
doctrine, such as that which goes by the name of Catholi 
should admit of being referred to beliefs, opinions, ai 
usages which prevailed among the first Christians, in ord 
to my having a logical right to include a reception of tl 
later teaching in the reception of the earlier ; that an intc 
lectual development may be in one sense natural, and y 
untrue to its original, as diseases come of nature, yet a 
the destruction, or rather the negation of health ; that tl 
causes which stimulate the growth of ideas may also distui 
and deform them ; and that Christianity might indeed ha' 
been intended by its Divine Author for a wide expansion 
the ideas proper to it, and yot this great benefit hinderc 
by the evil birth of cognate errors which acted as its counte 
feit ; in a word, that what I have called developments : 
the Roman Church are nothing moro or less than whi 
used to bo called her corruptions ; and that new names c 
not destroy old grievances. 

This is what may be said, and I acknowledge its forc< 
it becomes necessary in. consequence to assign certa 
characteristics of faithful developments, which nono bi 
faithful developments have, and the presence of whic 
serves as a tost to discriminate between them and corruj 
tions. This I at once proceed to do, and I shall begin I 
determining what a corruption is, and why it cann 
rightly be called, and how it diflers from, a development 


To find then what a corruption or perversion of the trm 
is, let us inquire what tho word moans, when used literally 
material substances. Now it is plain, first of all, that 
corruption is a word attaching to organised matters onl^ 
a stone may be crushed to powder, but it cannot bo co 
rupted. Corruption, on tho contrary, is tho breaking up 
life, preparatory to its termination. This resolution of 


body into its component parts is the stage "before its disso- 
lution ; it begins when life has reached its perfection, and 
it is the sequel, or rather the continuation, of that process 
towards perfection, being at the same time the reversal and 
undoing of what went before. Till this point of regression 
is reached, the body has a function of its own, and a direc- 
tion and aim in its action, and a nature with laws ; these 
it is now losing, and the traits and tokens of former years ; 
and with them its vigour and powers of nutrition, of assimi- 
lation, and of self-reparation. 


Taking this analogy as a guide, I venture to set down 
seven Notes of varying cogency, independence and appli- 
cability, to discriminate healthy developments of an idea 
from its state of corruption and decay, as follows : There 
is no corruption if it retains one and the same type, the 
same principles, the same organization ; if its beginnings 
anticipate its subsequent phases, and its later phenomena 
protect and subserve its earlier ; if it has a power of assimi- 
lation and revival, and a vigorous action from first to last. 
On these tests I shall now enlarge, nearly in the order in 
which I have enumerated them. 



This is readily suggested by the analogy of physical 
growth, which is such that the parts and proportions of 
the developed form, however altered, correspond to those 
which belong to its rudiments. The adult animal has the 


same make, as it had on its birth ; young birds do not 
grow into fishes, nor does the child degenerate into the 
brute, wild or domestic, of which he is by inheritance 
lord. Vinccntius of Lerins adopts this illustration in 
distinct reference to Christian doctrine. "Let the sours 
religion/' he says, "imitate the law of the body, which, as 
years go on, developcs indeed and opens out its due propor- 
tions, and yet remains identically what it was. Small are 
a baby's limbs, a youth's are larger, yet they are the 
same." l 


In like manner every calling or office has its own type, 
which those who fill it ure bound 1o maintain; and to deviate 
from the type in any material point is to relinquish the 
calling. Thus both Chaucer and Goldsmith have drawn 
pictures of a true parish priest ; these differ in details, but 
on the wholo they agree together, and are one in such 
sense, that sensuality, or ambition, must be considered a 
forfeiture of that high title. Those magistrates, again, are 
called " corrupt/' who are guided in their judgments by 
love of lucre or respect of persons, for the administration 
of justice is their essential function. Thus collegiate or 
monastic bodies lose their claim to their endowments or 
their buildings, as being relaxed and degenerate, if they 
neglect their statutes or their Ilulc. Thus, too, in political 
history, a mayor of the palace, such as ho became in tho 
person of Pepin, was no faithful development of the office 
he filled, as originally intended and established. 


In like manner, it has been argued by a late writer, 
whether fairly or not does not mtcrefero with tho illustra- 
tion, that the miraculous vision and dream of the Labarum 
1 Comwomt. 20. 


could not have really taken place, as reported by Eusebius, 
because it is counter to the original type of Christianity. 
"For the first time/' he says, on occasion of Constan tine's 
introduction of the standard into his armies, " the meek 
and peaceful Jesus became a God of battle, and the Cross, 
the holy sign of Christian Redemption, a banner of bloody 

strife This was the first advance to the military 

Christianity of the middle ages, a modification of the pure 
religion of the Gospel, if directly opposed to its genuine 
principles, still apparently indispensable to the social 
progress of men." 2 

On the other hand, a popular leader may go through a 
variety of professions, he may court parties and break 
with them, he may contradict himself in words-, and undo 
his own measures, yet there may be a steady fulfilment of 
certain objects, or adherence to certain plain doctrines, 
which gives a unity to his career, and impresses on 
beholders an image of directness and large consistency 
which shows a fidelity to his type from first to last. 


However, as the last instances suggest to us, this unity 
of type, characteristic as it is of faithful developments, 
must not be pressed to the extent of denying all variation, 
nay, considerable alteration of proportion and relation, as 
time goes on, in the parts or aspects of an idea. Great 
changes in outward appearance and internal harmony 
occur in the instance of the animal creation itself. The 
fledged bird differs much from its rudimental form in the 
egg. The butterfly is the development, but not in any 
sense the image, of the grub. The whale claims a place 
among mammalia, though we might fancy that, as in the 
child's game of catscradle, some strange introsusception 
had been permitted, to make it so like, yet so contrary, to 
* Milman, Christ. 


flic animals with which it is itself classed. And, in like 
manner, if boasts of prey were once in paradise, and fed 
upon grass, they mu4 have presented bodily phenomena 
very different from the structure of muscles, claws, teeth, 
and viscera which now lit them for a carnivorous existence. 
Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, on his death-bed, 
grasped his own hand and said, " I confess that in this 
fle<h we shall all rise again ;" yet fle^h and blood cannot 
inherit the Idngdom of God, and a glorified body has 
attributes incompatible with its present condition on 


More subtle still and mysterious are the variations 
which are consistent or not inconsistent with identity in 
political and religious developments. The Catholic doc- 
U'ine of the Holy Trinity has ever been accused by here- 
tics of interfering with that of the Divine Unity out of 
winch it grew, and even believers will at first sight con- 
sider that it tends to obscure it. Yet Petavius says, " I 
will affirm, what perhaps will surprise the reader, that that 
distinction of Persons which, in regard to proprietafe* is in 
reality most great, is so far from disparaging the Unity 
and Simplicity of God that this very real distinction 
especially avails for the doctrine that God is One and 
most Simple." 3 

Again, Arius asserted tjbat the Second Person of the 
Blessed Trinity was not able to comprehend the First, 
whereas Eunonnus's characteristic tenet was in an 
opposite direction, viz., that not only the Son, but that all 
men could comprehend God; yet no one can donbt that 
Eunoinianism was a true development, not a corruption of 

The same man mav run through various philosophies 
D, il ^ 8. 


or beliefs, which are in themselves irreconcilable, without 
inconsistency, since in him they may be nothing more 
than accidental instruments or expressions of what he is 
inwardly from first to last. The political doctrines of the 
modern Tory resemble those of the primitive Whig ; yet 
few will deny that the "Whig and Tory characters have 
each a discriminating type. Calvinism lias changed into 
TJnitarianism : yet this need not be called a corruption, 
even if it be not, strictly speaking, a development ; for 
Harding, in controversy with Jewell, surmised the coming 
change three centuries since, and it has occurred not in one 
country, but in many. 


The history of national character supplies an analogy, 
rather than an instance strictly in point ; yet there is so 
close a connexion between the development of minds and 
of ideas that it is allowable to refer to it here. Thus we 
find England of old the most loyal supporter, and England 
of late the most jealous enemy, of the Holy See. As 
great a change is exhibited in France, once the eldest 
born of the Church and the flower of her knighthood, now 
democratic and lately infidel. Yet, in neither nation, 
can these great changes be well called corruptions. 

Or again, let us reflect on the ethical vicissitudes of the 
chosen people. How different is their grovelling and 
cowardly temper on leaving Egypt from the chivalrous 
spirit, as it may be called, of the age of David, or, again, 
from the bloody fanaticism which braved Titus and 
Hadrian ! In what contrast is that impotence of mind 
which gave way at o ice, and bowed the knee, at the very 
sight of a pagan idol, with the stern iconoclasm and 
bigoted nationality of later Judaism ! How startling the 
apparent absence of what would be called talent in this 
people during their supernatural Dispensation, compared 


with the gifts of mind which various witnesses assign t 
them now ! 


And, in like manner, ideas may remain, when the ex 
pression of them is indefinitely varied ; and we canno 
determine whether a professed development is truly sue 
or not, without some further knowledge than an expcrienc 
of the mere fact of this variation. Nor will our instinctiv 
feelings serve as a criterion. It must have been an extrera 
shock to St. Peter to be told ho must slay and cat beasts, UE 
clean as well as clean, though such a command was implie 
already in that faith which ho held and taught ; a shod 
which a single effort, or a short period, or the force < 
reason would not suffice to overcome. Nay, it may happe 
that a representation which varies from its original ma 
be felt as more true and faithful than ono which has moi 
pretensions to be exact. So it is with many a portra 
which is not striking : at first look, of courses, it dis 
appoints us; but when we are familiar with it, we see i 
it what we could not BOO at first., and prefer it, not to 
porfect likeness, but to many a sketch which IB so preci* 
a* to bo a caricature. 


On the other hand, real perversions ami corruptions ai 
often not so unlike externally to the doctrine from whic 
they come, as ax*o changes which arts consistent with 
and true developments. When Homo changed from 
llcpublio to an Empire, it was a real alteration of polit 
or what may be called a corruption ; yet in appearan< 
the change was small. Tho old offices or functions < 
government remained: it was only that the Imperator, < 
Commander in Chief, concentrated thorn in Ins own pe 


son. Augustus was Consul and Tribune, Supreme Pontiff 
and Censor, and the Imperial rule was, in the words of 
Gibbon, " an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of 
a commonwealth." On the other hand, when the dis- 
simulation of Augustus was exchanged for the ostentation 
of Dioclesian, the real alteration of constitution was trivial, 
but the appearance of change was great. Instead of plain 
Consul, Censor, and Tribune, Dioclesian became Dominus 
or King, assumed the diadem, and threw around him the 
forms of a court. 

Way, one cause of corruption in religion is the refusal 
10 follow the course of doctrine as it moves on, and an 
obstinacy in the notions of the past. Certainly : as we 
see conspicuously in the history of the chosen race. The 
Samaritans who refused to add the Prophets to the Law, 
and the Sadducees who denied a truth which was covertly 
taught in the Book of Exodus, were in appearance only 
* faithful adherents to the primitive doctrine. Our Lord 
found His people precisians in their obedience to the 
letter ; He condemned them for not being led on to its 
spirit, that is, to its developments. The Gospel is the 
development of the Law ; yet what difference seems wider 
than that which separates the unbending rule of Moses 
from the ''grace and truth " which "came by Jesus 
Christ ? " Samuel had of old time fancied that the tall 
Eliab was the Lord's anointed; and Jesse had thought 
David only fit for the sheepcote ; and when the Great 
King came, He was " as a root out of a dry ground ;" but 
strength came out of weakness, and out of the strong 

So it is in the case of our friends ; the most obse- 
quious are not always the truest, and seeming cruelty is 
often genuine affection. We know the conduct of the 
three daughters in the drama towards the old king. She 
who had found her love "more richer than her tongue/* 


1 78 SECOND KOTE. [CH. V. 

and could not tf heave her heart into her mouth/' was 
in the event alone true to her father. 


An idea then does not always bear about it the same 
external image ; this circumstance, however, has no force 
to weaken the argument for its substantial identity, as 
drawn from its external sameness, when such sameness 
remains. On the contrary, for that very reason, unify 
of type becomes so much the surer guarantee of the 
healthiness and soundness of developments, when it is 
persistently preserved in spite of their number or 



As in mathematical creations figures are formed on dis- 
tinct formula, which are tho laws under which they aro 
developed, so it is in ethical and political subjects. Doc- 
trines expand variously according to the mind, individual 
^or social, into which they aro received ; and the peculiari- 
ties of tho recipient aro the regulating power, the law, tho 
organization, or, as it may be called, the form of the 
develop ment. Tho life of doctrines may bo said to consist 
in the l&w or principle which they embody. 

Principles arc abstract and general, doctrines relate to 
fuels; doctrines devclopo, and principles at first sight do 
not ; doctrine^ grow and are enlarged, principles aro per- 
manent ; doctn&es are intellectual, and principles are more 
immediately ethifeJ. and practical. Systems live in prin- 
ciples and rcprcsciiKdoctrincs. Personal responsibility is a 
principle, tho Beingsof a God is a doctrine ; from that 
doctrine all tticology h\s come in due course, whereas that 


principle is not clearer under the Gospel than in paradise, 
and depends, not on belief in an Almighty Governor, but 
on conscience. 

Yet the difference between the two sometimes merely 
exists in our mode of viewing them ; and what is a doctrine 
in one philosophy is a principle in another. Personal 
responsibility may bo made a doctrinal basis, and develope 
into Arminianism or Pelagianism. Again, it may be 
discussed whether infallibility is a principle or a doctrine , 
of the Church of Rome, and dogmatism a principle or 
doctrine of Christianity. Again, consideration for the poor 
is a doctrine of the Church considered as a religious body, 
and a principle when she is yiewed as a political power. 

Doctrines stand to principles, as the definitions to the 
axioms and postulates of mathematics. Thus the 15th and 
17th propositions of Euclid's book I. are developments, not 
of the three first axioms, which are required in the proof, 
but of the definition of a right angle. Perhaps the per- 
plexity, which arises in the mind of a beginner, on learning 
the early propositions of the second book, arises from these 
being more prominently exemplifications of axioms than 
developments of definitions. He looks for developments- 
from the definition of the rectangle, and finds but various 
particular cases of the general truth, that " the whole" is 
equal to its parts." 


It might be expected that the Catholic principles would 
be later in development than the Catholic doctrines, inas- 
much as they lie deeper in the miud, and are assumptions 
rather than objective professions. This has been the 
case. The Protestant controversy has mainly turned, or is 
turning, on one or other of the principles of Catholicity ; 
and to this day the rule of Scripture Interpretation, 
the doctrine of Inspiration, the relation of Faith to Reason, 

N 2 


moral responsibility, private judgment, inherent grace, the 
seat of infallibility, remain, I suppose, more or less unde- 
veloped, or, at least, undefined, by the Church. 

Doctrines stand to principles, if it may be said without 
fancifulness, as fecundity viewed relatively to generation, 
though this analogy must not be strained. Doctrines are 
developed by the operation of principles, and develope 
variously according to those principles. Thus a belief in 
the transitiveness of worldly goods leads the Epicurean to 
enjoyment, and the ascetic to mortification ; and, from their 
common doctrine of the sinfulnoss of matter, the Alexan- 
drian Gnostics became sensualists, and the Syrian devotees. 
The same philosophical elements, received into a certain 
sensibility or insensibility to sin and its consequences, leads 
one mind to the Church of Rome ; another to what, for 
want of a better word, may be called Germanism. 

Again, religious investigation sometimes is conducted on 
the principle that it is a duty " to follow and speak the 
* truth," which really means that it is no duty to fear error, 
or to consider what is safest, or to shrink from scattering 
doubts, or to regard the responsibility of misleading ; and 
^.thus it terminates in heresy or infidelity, without any blame 
', religious investigation in itself. 

in, to lake a different subject, what constitutes a 
chieiNkinterest of dramatic compositions and talcs, is to use 
external circumstances, which may be considered their law 
of development, as a means of bringing out into different 
shapes, ancta showing under new aspects, the personal pecu- 
liarities of cwiaracter, according us either those circum- 
stances or tKsbse peculiarities vary in tho case of the 
personages iatr^uced. 


Principles are popularly said to develope when they are 
but exemplified ; thus t&he various sects of Protestantism, 



unconnected as they are with each other, are called deve- 
lopments of the principle of Private Judgment, of which, 
really they are but applications and results. 

A development, to be faithful, must retain both, tlie 
doctrine and the principle with which it started. Doctrine 
without its correspondent principle remains barren, if not 
lifeless, of which, the Greek Church seems an instance ; or 
it forms those hollow professions which are familiarly called 
" shams," as a zeal for an established Church and its creed 
on merely conservative or temporal motives. Such, too, 
was the Roman Constitution between the reigns of Augus- 
tus and Dioclesian. 

On the other hand, principle without its corresponding 
doctrine may be considered as the state of religious 
minds in the heathen world, viewed relatively to Eeve- 
lation; that is, of the " children of God who are scattered 

Pagans may have, heretics cannot have, the same prin- 
ciples as Catholics ; if the latter have the same, they are 
not real heretics, but in ignorance. Principle is a better 
test of heresy than doctrine. Heretics are true to their 
principles, but change to and fro, backwards and forwards, 
in opinion; "for very opposite doctrines may be exemplifi* 
cations of the same principle. Thus the Antiochenes and 
other heretics sometimes were Arians, sometimes Sabellians, 
sometimes Nestorians, sometimes Monophysites, as if at 
random, from fidelity to their common principle, that there 
is no mystery in theology. Thus Calvinists become Uni- 
tarians from the principle of private judgment. The 
doctrines of heresy are accidents and soon run to an end; 
its principles are everlasting. 

This, too, is often the solution of the paradox "Extremes 
meet," and of the startling reactions which take place in 
individuals ; viz., the presence of some one principle or 
condition, which is dominant in. their minds from first to 


last. If one of two contradictory alternatives be necessarily 
true on a certain hypothesis, then the denial of the ono leads, 
by mere logical consistency and without direct reasons, to 
a reception of the other. Thus the question between the 
Church of Rome and Protestantism falls in some minds into 
the proposition, " Rome is either the pillar and ground of 
the Truth or she is Antichrist;" in proportion, then, as 
they revolt from considering her the latter are they com- 
pelled to receive her as the former. Hence, too, men may 
pass from, in fidelity to Home,, and from Rome to infidelity, 
from a conviction in both courses that there is no tangible 
intellectual position between the two. 

Protestantism, viewed in its more Catholic aspect, is doc- 
trine without active principle ; viewed in its heretical, it is 
active, principle without doctrine. Many of its speakers, 
for instance, use eloquent and glowing language about the 
Church and its characteristics : some of them do not realize 
what they say, but use high words and general statements 
about "the faith," and " primitive truth," and "schism," 
and te heresy," to which they attach no definite meaning; 
while others speak of " unity," "universality/* and 
" Catholicity," and use the words in their own sense and 
for their own ideas. 


The science of grammar affords another instance of tne 
existence of special laws in the formation of systems. 
Some languages have moro elasticity than others, and 
greater capabilities ; and the difficulty of explaining the 
fact cannot lead us to doubt it. There are languages, 
for instance, which have a capacity for compound words, 
which, wo cannot tell why, is in matter of fact denied to 
others. "We feel tho presence of a certain character or 
genius in each, which determines its path and its range ; 
and to discover and enter into it is ono part of refilled 


scholarship. And when particular writers, in consequence 
perhaps of some theory, tax a language beyond its powers, 
the failure is conspicuous. Very subtle, too, and difficult 
to draw out, are the principles on which depends the 
formation of proper names in a particular people. In 
works of fiction, names or titles, significant or ludicrous, 
must be invented for the characters introduced ; and some 
authors excel in their fabrication, while others are equally 
unfortunate. Foreign novels, perhaps, attempt to frame 
English surnames, and signally fail ; yet what every one 
feels to be the case, no one can analyze: that is, our 
surnames are constructed on a law which is only exhibited 
in particular instances, and which rules their formation on 
certain, though subtle, determinations. 

And so in philosophy, the systems of physics or morals, 
which go by celebrated names, proceed upon the assump- 
tion of certain conditions which are necessary for every 
stage of their development. The Newtonian theory of 
gravitation is based on certain axioms ; for instance, that 
the fewest causes assignable for phenomena are the true 
ones : and the application of science to practical purposes 
depends upon the hypothesis that what happens to-day 
will happen to-morrow. 

And so in military matters, the discovery of gunpowder 
developed the science of attack and defence in a new 
instrumentality. Again, it is said that when Napoleon 
began his career of victories, the enemy's generals pro- 
nounced that his battles were fought against rule, and that 
lie ought not to be victorious. 


So states have their respective policies, on which they 
move forward, and which are the conditions of their well- 
being. Thus it is sometimes said that the true policy of 
the American "Union, or the law of its prosperity, is not the 


enlargement of its territory, but tlie cultivation of its 
internal resources. Thus Russia is said to be weak in 
attack, strong in defence, and to grow, not by the sword, 
but by diplomacy. Thus Islamism is said to be the form 
or life of the Ottoman, and Protestantism of the British 
Empire, and the admission of European ideas into the one, 
or of Catholic ideas into the other, to be the destruction of 
the respective conditions of their power. Thus Augustus 
and Tiberius governed by dissimulation ; thus Pericles in 
his "Funeral Oration" draws out the principles of the 
Athenian commonwealth, viz., that it is carried on, not by 
formal and severe enactments, but by the ethical character 
and spontaneous energy of the people. 

The political principles of Christianity, if it be right to 
use such words of a divine polity, are laid down for us in 
the Sermon on the Mount. Contrariwise to other empires, 
Christians conquer by yielding ; they gain influence by 
shrinking from it ; they possess tho earth by renouncing it. 
Gibbon speaks of " the vices of the clergy " as being " to 
a philosophic eye far less dangerous than thoir virtues."* 
Again, as to Judaism, it may bo asked on what law it 
developed ; that is, whether Mahomctanisra may not be 
considered as a sort of Judaism, as formed by the presence 
of a different class of influences. In this contrast between 
them, perhaps it may be said that the expectation of a 
Messiah was the principle or law which expanded the 
elements, almost common to Judaism with Mahometanism, 
into their respective characteristic shapes. 

One of the points of discipline to which Wesley attached 
most importance was that of preaching early in the 
morning. This was his principle. In Georgia, he began 
preaching at five o'clock every day, winter and summer. 
"Early preaching," ho said, " is the glory of the Method- 
ists 5 whenever this is dropt, they will dwindle away into 

* Clu xlix. 


nothing, they have lost their first love, they are a fallen 


Now, these instances show, as has heen incidentally 
observed of some of them, that the destruction of the 
special laws or principles of a development is its corruption 
Thus, as to nations, when we talk of the spirit of a people 
being lost, we do not mean that this or that act has been 
committed, or measure carried, but that certain lines of 
thought or conduct by which it has grown great are 
abandoned. Thus the Roman Poets consider their State 
in course of ruin because its prlsci mores and pietcts were 
failing. And so we speak of countries or persons as being 
in a false position, when they take up a course of policy, or 
assume a profession, inconsistent with their natural interests 
or real character. Judaism, again, was rejected when it 
rejected the Messiah. 

Thus the continuity or the alteration of the principles on 
which an idea has developed is a second mark of discrimi- 
nation between a true development and a corruption. 



In the physical world, whatever has life is characterized 
by growth, so that in no respect to grow is to cease to 
live. It grows by taking into its own substance external 
materials ; and this absorption or assimilation is completed 
when the materials appropriated come to belong to it or 
enter into its unity. Two things cannot become one, 
except there be a power of assimilation in one or the other. 
Sometimes assimilation is effected only with an effort ; it 


is possible* to die of repletion, and there are animals 
lie torpid for a time under the contest between the foreign 
substance and the assimilating power. And different food 
is proper for different recipients. 

This analogy may be taken to illustrate certain pecu- 
liarities in the growth or development in ideas, which were 
noticed in the first Chapter. It is otherwise with mathe- 
tical and other abstract creations, which, like tlio soul 
itself, are solitary and self-dependent; but doctrines and 
views which relate to man are not placed in a void, but in 
the crowded world, and make way for themselves by 
interpenetration, and develope by absorption. Facts and 
opinions, which have hitherto been regarded in other rela- 
tions and grouped round other centres, henceforth are 
gradually attracted to a new influence and subjected to a 
new sovereign. They are mod iiio J, laid down afresh, thrust 
aside, as the case may bo. A now element of order and 
composition has come among thorn ; and its life is proved 
by this capacity of expansion, without disarrangement or 
dissolution. An eclectic, con servat i vc, assimilating, healing, 
moulding process, a unitivo power, is of the essence, and a 
third test, of a faithful development. 


Thus, a power of development is a proof of life, not only 
in its essay, but especially in its success; for a mere 
formula cither does not expand or is shattered in ex- 
panding. A living idea becomes many, yet remains one. 

The attempt at development shows the presence of a 
principle, and its success the presence of tin idea. Prin- 
ciples stimulate thought, and an idea concentrates it. 

The idea never was that throve and lasted, yet, like 
mathematical truth, incorporated nothing from external 
sources. So far from the fact of such incorporation im- 
plying corruption, as is sometimes supposed, development 


is a process of incorporation. Mahomet an ism may be in. 
external developments scarcely more than a compound of 
other theologies, yet no one would deny that there has 
been a living idea somewhere in a religion, which has 
been so strong;, so wide, so lasting a bond of union in the 
history of the world. "Why it has not continued to 
devolope after its first preaching, if this be the case, as it 
seems to be, cannot be determined without a greater 
knowledge of that religion, and how far it is merely 
political, how far theological, than we commonly possess. 


In Christianity, opinion, while a raw material, is called 
philosophy or scholasticism ; when a rejected refuse, it is 
called heresy. 

Ideas are more open to an external bias in their com- 
mencement than afterwards; hence the great majority of 
writers who consider the Medieval Church corrupt, trace 
its corruption to the first four centuries, not to what are 
called the dark ages. 

That an idea more readily coalesces with these ideas than 
with those does not show that it has been unduly influ- 
enced, that is, corrupted by them, but that it has an 
antecedent affinity to them. At least it shall be assumed 
here that, when the Gospels speak of virtue going out of 
our Lord, and of His healing with the clay which His lips 
had moistened, they afford instances, not of a perversion of 
Christianity, but of affinity to notions which were external 
to it; and that St. Paul was not biassed by Orientalism, 
though he said, after the manner of some Eastern sects, 
that it was " excellent not to touch a woman." 


Thus in politics, too, ideas are sometimes proposed, 
discussed, rejected, or adopted, as it may happen, and some- 

188 THIRD NOTE, [CH. V. 

they are shown to he unmeaning and impossible ; 
sometimes they are true, hut partially so, or in subordina- 
tion to other ideas, with which, in consequence, they are 
as wholes or in part incorporated, as far as these have 
affinities to them, the power to incorporate being thus 
recognized as a property of life. Mr. Bentham's system 
was an attempt to mate the circle of legal and moral truths 
developments of certain principles of his own; those 
principles of his may, if it so happen, prove unequal to 
the weight of truths which are eternal, and the system 
founded on them may break into pieces ; or again, a State 
may absorb certain of them, for which it has affinity, that 
is, it may devclopo in Benthamism, yet remain in sub- 
stance what it was before. In the history of the French 
Revolution we read of many middle parties, who attempted 
to form theories of constitutions short of those which they 
would call extreme, and successively failed from the want 
of power or reality in their characteristic ideas. The 
Scmi-arians attempted a middle way between orthodoxy 
and heresy, but could not stand their ground ; at length 
part fell into Macedonianism, and part joined the Church. 

The stronger and moro living is an idea, that is, the 
more powerful hold it exercises on the minds of men, the 
more able is it to dispense with safeguards, and trust to 
itself against the danger of corruption. As strong frames 
exult in their agility, and healthy constitutions throw off 
ailments, so parties or schools that live can afford to be 
rash, and will sometimes be betrayed into extravagances, 
yet arc brought right by thoir inherent vigour. On the 
other hand, unreal syHtems are commonly decent exter- 
nally. Forms, subscriptions, or Articles of religion arc 
indispensable when the principle of life is weakly. Thus 
Prcsbyterianism has maintained its original theology in 


Scotland where legal subscriptions are enforced, while it 
has run into Arianism or Unitarianism "where that pro- 
tection is away. We have yet to see whether the Free 
Kirk can keep its present theological ground. The 
Church of Rome can consult expedience more freely than 
other bodies, as trusting to her living tradition, and is' 
sometimes thought to disregard principle and scruple, 
when she is but dispensing with forms. Thus Saints 
are often characterized by acts which are no pattern for 
others ; and the most gifted men are, by reason of their 
very gifts, sometimes led into fatal inadvertences. Hence 
vows are the wise defence of unstable virtue, and general 
rules the refuge of feeble authority. 

And so much may suffice on the unitive poioer of faithful 
developments, which constitutes their third characteristic. 



Logic is the organization of thought, and, as being 
such, is a security for the faithfulness of intellectual 
developments ; and the necessity of using it is undeniable 
as far as this, that its rules must not be transgressed. 
That it is not brought into exercise in every instance ot 
doctrinal development is owing to the varieties of mental 
constitution, whether in communities or in individuals, 
with whom great truths or seeming truths are lodged. 
The question indeed may be asked whether a development 
can be other in any case than a logical operation ; but, if 
by this is meant a conscious reasoning from premisses to 
conclusion, of course the answer must be in the negative. 

190 FOURTH NOTE. L CH - V - 

An idea under one or other of its aspects grows in the 
mind by remaining there ; it becomes familiar and distinct,, 
and is viewed in its relations ; it leads to other aspects, 
and these again to others, subtle, recondite, original, accord- 
ing to the character, intellectual and moral, of the recipient ; 
and thus a body of thought is gradually formed without 
his recognizing what is going oil within him. And all 
this while, or at least from time to time, external circum- 
stances elicit into formal statement the thoughts which are 
coming into being in the depths of his mind ; and soon ho 
has to begin to defend thorn ; and then again a further 
process must take place, of analyzing his statements and 
ascertaining their dependence one on another. And thus 
he is led to regard as consequences, and to trace to princi- 
ples, what hitherto he has discerned by a moral perception, 
and adopted on sympathy; and logic is brought in to 
arrange and inculcate what no science was employed in 

And so in the samo way, such intellectual processes, as 
are carried on silently and spontaneously in tho mind of a 
party or school, of necessity come to light at a later duto, 
and are recognized, and their issues uro scientifically 
arranged. And then logic has the further function of 
propagation ; analogy, the nature of the case, antecedent 
probability, application of principles, congruity, expedience, 
being some of the methods of proof by which the develop- 
ment is continued from mind to mind and established in 
the faith of the community. 

Yet even then the analysis is not made on a principle, 
or with any view to its whole course and finished results. 
Each argument is brought for an immediate purpose; 
minds develope step by step, without looking behind them 
or anticipating their goal, and without either intention or 
promise of forming a system. Afterwards, however, this 
logical character which the whole wears becomes a test 


that the process has been a true development, not a per- 
version or corruption, from its evident naturalness ; and 
in some cases from the gravity, distinctness, precision, and 
majesty of its advance, and the harmony of its proportions, 
like the tall growth, and graceful branching, and rich 
foliage, of some vegetable production. 


The process of development, thus capable of a logical 
expression, has sometimes been invidiously spoken of as 
rationalism and contrasted with faith. But, though a 
particular doctrine or opinion which is subjected to de- 
velopment may happen to be rationalistic, and, as is the 
original, such are its results : and though we may develope 
erroneously, that is, reason incorrectly, yet the developing 
itself as little deserves that imputation in any case, as an 
inquiry into an historical fact, which we do not thereby 
make but ascertain, for instance, whether or not St. Mark 
wrote his Gospel with St. Matthew before him, or whether 
Solomon brought his merchandise from Tartessus or some 
Indian port. Rationalism is the exercise of reason instead 
of faith in matters of faith ; but one does not see how it 
can be faith to adopt the premisses, and unbelief to accept 
the conclusion. 

At the same time it may be granted that the spontaneous 
process which goes on within the mind itself is higher and 
choicer than that which is logical; for the latter, being 
scientific, is common property, and can be taken and made 
use of by minds who are personally strangers, in any -true 
sense, both to the ideas in question and to their develop- 


Thus, the holy Apostles would without words know all 
the truths concerning the Ligh doctrines of theology, 


which controversialists after them have piously and charit- 
ably reduced to formulae, and developed through argument. 
Thus, St. Justin or St. Irenoous might be without any 
digested ideas of Purgatory or Original Sin, yet have an 
intense feeling, which they had not defined or located, 
both of the fault of our first nature and the responsibilities 
of our nature regenerate. Thus St. Antony said to the 
philosophers who came to mock him, " lie whose mind is 
in health does not need letters ;" and St. Ignatius Loyola, 
while yet an unlearned neophyte, was favoured with 
transcendent perceptions of the Holy Trinity during his 
penance at Manresa. Thus St. Athanasius himself is more 
powerful in statement and exposition than in proof; while 
in Bellarmine we find the whole series of doctrines care- 
fully drawn out, duly adjusted with one another, and 
exactly analyzed one by one. 

The history of empires and of public men supplies so 
many instances of logical development in the field of 
politics, that it is needless to do more than to refer to one 
of them. It is illustrated by the words of Jeroboam, "Now 
shall this kingdom return to the house of David, if this 
people go up to do sacrifice in the house of tho Lord at 
Jerusalem. . . Wherefore the king took counsel and made 
two calves of gold, and said unto them, Behold thy gods, 
Israel." Idolatry was a duty of kingcraft with the 
schismatical kingdom* 


A specimen of logical development is afforded us in the 
history of Lutheran i Bin as it has of late years been drawn 
out by various English writers. Luther started on a 
double basis, his dogmatic principlo being contradicted by 
his right of private judgment, and his sacramental by his 
theory of justification. The sacramental element never 
showed signs of life ; but on his death, that which he 


represented in his own person as a teacher, the dogmatic, 
gained, the ascendancy ; and " every expression of his 
upon controverted points became a norm for the party, 
which, at all times the largest, was at last coextensive with, 
the Church itself. This almost idolatrous veneration was 
perhaps increased by the selection of declarations of faith, 
of which the substance on the whole was his, for the 
symbolical books of his Church." 5 Next a reaction took 
place; private judgment was restored to the supremacy. 
Calixtus put reason, and Spener the so-called religion of 
the heart, in the place of dogmatic correctness. Pietism 
for the time died away; but rationalism developed in 
Wolf, who professed to prove all the orthodox doctrines, 
by a process of reasoning, from premisses level with the 
reason. It was soon found that the instrument which 
Wolf had used for orthodoxy, could as plausibly be used 
against it ; in his hands it had proved the Creed ; in the 
hands of Sender, Ernesti, and others^ it disproved the 
authority of Scripture. What was religion to be made to 
consist in now ? A sort of philosophical Pietism followed ; 
or rather Spener's pietism and the original theory of 
justification were analyzed more thoroughly, and issued in 
various theories of Pantheism, which from the first was at 
the bottom of Luther's doctrine and personal character. 
And this appears to be the state of Lutheranism at present, 
whether we view it in the philosophy of Kant, in the open 
infidelity of Strauss, or in the religious professions of the 
new Evangelical Church of Prussia. Applying this 
instance to the subject which it has been here brought to 
illustrate, I should say that the equable and orderly march 
and natural succession of views, by which the creed of 
Luther has been changed into the infidel or heretical 
philosophy of his present representatives, is a proof that 

5 Pusey on German Rationalism, p. 21, note. 


that change is no perversion or corruption, but a faithful 
development of the original idea. 


This is but one out of many instances with which the 
history of the Church supplies us. The fortunes of a 
theological school are made, in a later generation, the 
measure of the teaching of its founder. The great Origen 
after his many labours died in peace ; his immediate pupils 
were saints and rulers in the Church ; he has the praise of 
St. Athanasius, St. Basil, and St. Gregory Nazianzen, and 
furnishes materials to St. Ambrose and St. Hilary ; yet, 
as time proceeded, a definite heterodoxy was the growing 
result of his theology, and at length, three hundred years 
after his death, he was condemned, and, as has generally 
been considered, in an Ecumenical Council. 6 "Diodorus 
of Tarsus," says Tillemont, ** died at an advanced age, in 
the peace of the Church, honoured by the praises of the 
greatest saints, and crowned with a glory, which, having 
evor attended him through life, followed him after his 
death;** 7 yet St. Cyril of Alexandria considers him and 
Theodore of MopsucBtia the true authors of Ne,storianism, 
and ho was placed in the event by the Nestorians among 
their saints. Theodore himself was condemned after his 
death by tho sumo Council which is said to have con- 
demned Origen, and is justly considered the chief ratio- 
nalising doctor of Antiquity ; yet he was in the highest 
repute in his day, and the Eastern Synod complains, as 
quoted by Facundus, that <c Blessed Theodore, who died so 
li uppity* who was BO eminent a teacher for five and forty 
years, and overthrew every heresy, and in his lifetime 
experienced no imputation from the orthodox, now after 

< Hulloix, Valesius, Lwjufrn, Gicfiuler, Dftllinger, &c., my that ho was 
condemned, not in the fifth Council, bxit in the Council under Mennas. 
? Mem. Eecl. torn. viii. p, 062, 


his death so long ago, after his many conflicts, after 
his ten thousand books composed in refutation of errors, 
after his approval in the sight of priests, emperors, and 
people, runs the risk of receiving the reward of heretics, 
and of being called their chief." 8 There is a certain con- 
tinuous advance and determinate path which belong to 
the history of a doctrine, policy, or institution, and which 
impress upon the common sense of mankind, that what it 
ultimately becomes is the issue of what it was at first. 
This sentiment is expressed in the proverb, not limited to 
Latin, Exitus acta probat ; and is sanctioned by Divine 
wisdom, when, warning us against false prophets, it says, 
" Ye shall know them by their fruits." 

A doctrine, then, professed in its mature years by a 
philosophy or religion, is likely to be a true development, 
not a corruption, in proportion as it seems to be the logical 
issue of its original teaching. 



Since, when an idea is living, that is, influential and 
effective, it is sure to develope according to its own nature, 
and the tendencies, which are carried out on the long run, 
may under favourable circumstances show themselves early 
as well as late, and logic is the same in all ages, instances 
of a development which, is to come, though vague awl 
isolated, may occur from the very first, though a lapse of 
time be necessary to bring them to perfection. And since 
developments are in great measure only aspects of tie 
idea from which they proceed, and all of them arc natural 
consequences of it, it is often a matter of accident in what 
s Def. Tr. Cax viii. init. 

o 2 

196 OTTH NOTE. [CH. V* 

order they are carried out in individual minds ; and it is 
in no wise strange that here and there definite specimens 
of advanced teaching should very early occur, which in 
the historical course are not found till a late day. The 
fact, then, of such early or recurring intimations of 
tendencies which afterwards are fully realized, is a sort of 
evidence that those later and more systematic fulfilments 
are only in accordance with the original idea. 


Nothing is more common, for instance, than accounts 
or legends of the anticipations, which great men have 
given in boyhood of the bent of their minds, as afterwards 
displayed in their history ; so much so that the popular 
expectation has sometimes led to the invention of them. 
The child Cyrus mimics a despot's power, and St. 
Athanasius is elected Bishop by his playfellows. 

It is noticeable that in the eleventh century, when 
the Russians wero but pirates upon the Black Soa, Con- 
stantinople was their aim ; and that a prophesy was in 
circulation in that city that they should one day gain 
possession of it. 

In the reign of James the First, we have an observable 
anticipation of the system of influence in the management 
of political parties, which was developed by Sir R 
"Wulpolo a century afterwards. This attempt is traced by 
a living writer to the ingenuity of Lord Bacon. " He 
submitted to the King that there were expedients for 
more judiciously managing a House of Commons ; . . 
that much might be done by forethought towards filling 
the House with well-affected persons, winning or blinding 
the lawyers . . and drawing the chief constituent bodies 
of the assembly, the country gentlemen, tho merchants, 
the courtiers, to act for the King's advantage^; that ifc 
would be expedient to tender voluntarily certain graces 


and modifications of the King's prerogative/' &c. 9 The 
writer adds, " This circumstance, like several others in the 
present reign, is curious, as it shows the rise of a system- 
atic parliamentary influence, which was one day tohecome 
the mainspring of government."" 


Arcesilas and Carnearles, the founders of the later 
Academy, are known to have innovated on the Platonic 
doctrine by inculcating a universal scepticism; and they 
did this, as if on the authority of Socrates, who had 
adopted the method of ironia against the Sophists, on 
their professing to know everything. This, of course, was 
an insufficient plea. However, could it be shown that 
Socrates did on one or two occasions evidence deliberate 
doubts on the great principles of theism or morals, 
would any one deny that the innovation in question had 
grounds for being considered a true development, not a 
corruption P 

It is certain that, in the idea of Monachisra, prevalent 
in ancient times, manual labour had a more prominent 
place' than study ; so much so that De Ranc6, the cele- 
brated Abbot of La Trappe, in controversy with Mabillon, 
maintained his ground with great plausibility against the 
latter's apology for the literary occupations for which the 
Benedictines of France are so famous. Nor can it be 
denied that the labours of such as Mabillon and Mont- 
faucon are at least a development upon the simplicity of 
the primitive institution. And yet it is remarkable that 
St. Pachomius, the first author of a monastic rule, enjoined 
a library in each of his houses, and appointed conferences 
and disputations three times a week on religious subjects, 
interpretation of Scripture, or points of theology. St. 
Basil, the founder of Monachism in Pontus, one of the 
9 Hallain's Const. Hisfc. oh. vi. p. 461. 

198 FIFTH NOTE. [OH. V. 

most learned of the Greek Fathers, wrote his theological 
treatises in the intervals of agricultural labour. St. 
Jerome, the author of the Latin versions of Scripture, lived 
as a poor monk in a cell at Bethlehem. Those, indeed, 
were but exceptions in the character of eaiiy Monachism ; 
but they suggest its capabilities and anticipate its history. 
Literature is certainly not inconsistent with its idea. 


In the controversies with the Gnostics, in the second 
century, striking anticipations occasionally occur, in the 
works of their Catholic opponents, of the formal dog- 
matic teaching developed in the Church in the course of 
the Historian and Monophysite controversies in the fifth. 
On tho other hand, Paul of Samosata, one of the first 
disciples of tho Syrian school of theology, taught a heresy 
sufficiently like Nostorianism, in which that school termi- 
nated, to bo mistaken for it in Inter times ; yet fpr a long 
while after him the characteristic of tho school was 
Arianism, an opposite heresy. 

Lutheranism has by thin time become in most places 
almost simple heresy or infidelity; it has terminated, if it 
has oven yet reached its limit, in a denial both of tho 
Canon and the Creed, nay, of inany principles of morals. 
Accordingly the question arises, whether these conclusions 
are in fairness to be connected with its original teaching 
or are a corruption. And it is no little aid towards its 
resolution f o find that Luther himself at one time rejected 
the Apocalypse, called theKpistle of St. James " straminoa/' 
condemned the word "Trinity/* fell into a kind of 
Eutychianism in his view of the Holy Eucharist, and in a 
particular case sanctioned bigamy* Calvinism, again, in 
various distinct countries, has become Socinianisra, and 
Calvin himself seems to have denied our Lord's Eternal 
Sonship and ridiculed the Nicenc Creed, 


Another evidence, then, of the faithfulness of an 
ultimate development is its definite anticipation at an early 
period in the history of the idea to which it belongs. 



As developments which are preceded by definite indi- 
cations have a fair presumption in their favour, so those 
which do but contradict and reverse the course of doctrine 
which has been developed before them, and out of which 
they spring, are certainly corrupt ; for a corruption is a 
development in that very stage in which it ceases to illus- 
trate, and begins to disturb, the acquisitions gained in 
its previous history. 

It is the rule of creation, or rather of the phenomena 
which it presents, that life passes on to its termination by 
a gradual, imperceptible course of change. There is ever 
a maximum in earthly excellence, and the operation of 
the same causes which made things great makes them 
small again. Weakness is but the resulting product of 
power. Events move in cycles ; all things come round, 
" the sun ariseth and goeth down, and hasteth to his place 
where he arose/' Flowers first bloom, and then fade ; 
fruit ripens and decays. The fermenting process, unless 
stopped at the due point, corrupts the liquor which it has 
created. The grace of spring, the richness of autumn 
are but for a moment, and worldly moralists bid us CttrjJt* 
diem, for we shall have no second opportunity. Virtue 
seems to lie in u mean, between vice and vice ; and as it 
#rew out of imperfection, so to grow into enormity. 
There is a limit to human knowledge, and both sacred and 

200 SIXTH NOTE. [CH, V. 

profane writers witness that overwisdom is folly. And in 
the political world states rise and fall, the instruments of 
their aggrandizement becoming the weapons of their de- 
struction. And hence the frequent ethical maxims, such 
as, " NQ quid nimix" " Media tutimmw" " Vaulting am- 
bition," which seem to imply that too much of what is 
good is evil. 

So groat a paradox of course cannot be maintained as 
that truth literally leads to falsehood, or that there can be 
an excess of virtue ; but the appearance of things and the 
popular language about them will at least serve us in 
obtaining an additional test for the discrimination of a 
londfide development of an idea from its corruption, 

A true development, then, may bo described as one which 
is conservative of the course of antecedent developments 
being really those antecedents and something besides them : 
it is an addition which illustrates, not obscures, corrobo- 
rates, not corrects, tho body of thought from which it 
proceeds ; and this is its characteristic as contrasted with 
a corruption. 


For instance, a gradual conversion from a false to a true 
religion, plainly, has much of the character of a continuous 
process, or a development, in the mind itself, even when 
the two religions, which are tho limits of its course, are 
antagonists, Now let it bo observed, that such a change 
consists in addition and increase chiefly, not in destruction. 
True religion is the summit and perfection of false reli- 
gions ; it combines in ono whatever there is of good and 
true separately remaining in each. And in like manner 
the Catholic Creed is for tho most part tho combination of 
separate truths, which heretics have divided among them- 
selves, and err in dividing. So that, in matter of fact, *if 
a religious mind were educated iu and sincerely attached 


to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were 
brought tinder the light of truth, it would be drawn off 
from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but 
by gaining what it had not, not by being unclothed, but 
by being ' clothed upon/ ' that mortality may be swal- 
lowed up of life/ That same principle of faith which 
attaches it at first to the wrong doctrine would attach it to 
the truth ; and that portion of its original doctrine, which 
was to l)e cast off as absolutely false, would not be directly 
rejected, but indirectly, in the reception of the truth which 
is its opposite. True conversion is ever of a positive, not 
a negative character/' 1 

Such too is the theory of the Fathers as regards the 
doctrines fixed by Councils, as is instanced in the language 
of St. Leo. " To be seeking for what has been disclosed, 
to reconsider what has been finished, to tear up what has 
been laid down, what is this but to be unthankful for what 
is gained ? " 2 Vincentius of Lerins, in like manner, speaks 
of the development of Christian doctrine, z&profectus fidei 
non pernmtatio^ And so as regards the Jewish Law, our 
Lord said that He came "not to destroy, but to fulfil," 


Mahomet is accused of contradicting his earlier revela- 
tions by his later, " which is a thing so well known to those 
of his sect that they all acknowledge it ; and therefore 
when the contradictions are such as they cannot solve them, 
then they will have one of the contradictory places to be 
revoked. And they reckon in the whole Alcoran about a 
hundred and fifty verses which are thus revoked." 4 

Schelling, says Mr. Dewar, considers "that the time 
has arrived when an esoteric speculative Christianity ought 

1 Tracts for the Times, No. 85, p. 73. [Discuss, p. 200 ; vide also Essay 
on Assent, pp. 24>9 251 .] 
8 Ep, 162. * Ib. p. 309. 4 Prideaux, Life of Mtihoinet, p. 90. 

202 SIXTH NOTE. [OH. V. 

to take the place of the exoteric empiricism which has 
hitherto prevailed." This German philosopher " acknow- 
ledges that such a project is opposed to the evident design 
of the Church, and of her earliest teachers/' 5 


"When Roman Catholics are accused of substituting 
another Gospel for the primitive Creed, they answer that 
they hold, and can show that they hold, the doctrines of 
the Incarnation and Atonement, as fmnlv as any Protes- 
tant can state them. To this it is replied that they do 
certainly profess fchein, hut that they obsourc and virtually 
annul them by their additions ; that the (wltus of St. Mary 
and the Saints is no development of tho truth, but a cor- 
ruption and a religious mischief to those doctrines of which 
it is the corruption, because it draws away the mind and 
heart from Christ. 3 Jut they answer that, so far from this, 
it subserves, illustrates, protects tho doctrine of our Lord's 
loving kindness and mediation. Thus the parties in con- 
troversy join issue, on tho common ground, that a deve- 
loped doctrine which reverses tho course of development 
which has preceded it-, is no true development but a 
corruption ; also, that what is corrupt acts its an element 
of imhealthiuess towards wlutt iw hound. This subject, 
however, will come before us iu its proper place by and by. 

BlackBtono supplies us wiih an instance in another sub- 
ject-matter, of a development which is justified by its 
utility* when he observes that "when society is once 
formed, government results of course, as necessary to pre- 
serve imd to keep that society in order." (l 

On tho contrary, when the Long Parliament proceeded 
to usurp the executive, they impaired the popular liberties 
German Protestantism, p. 170. 5 Vol. i. p. US. 


which they seemed to be advancing ; for the security of 
those liberties depends on the separation of the executive 
and legislative powers, or oa the enactors being subjects, 
not executors of the laws. 

And in the history of ancient Rome, from the time that 
the privileges gained by the tribunes in behalf of the 
people became an object of ambition to themselves, the 
development had changed into a corruption. 

And thus a sixth test of a true development is that it is 
of a tendency conservative of what has gone before it. 



Since the corruption of an idea, as far as the appearance 
goes, is a sort of accident or affection of its development, 
being the end of a course, and a transition-state leading to 
a crisis, it is, as has been observed above, a brief and rapid 
process. While ideas live in men^s minds, they are ever 
enlarging into fuller development : they -will not be 
stationary in their corruption any more than before it ; and 
dissolution is that further state to which corruption tends. 
Corruption cannot, therefore, be of long standing ; and 
thus duration is another test of a faithful development. 

Si gratis, brews ; si lonyus, levis ; is the Stoical topic of 
consolation under pain ; and of a number of disorders 
it can even be said, The worse, the shorter. 

Sober men are indisposed to change in civil matters, and 
fear reforms and innovations, lost, if they go a little too 
far, they should at once run on to some great calamities 
before a remedy can bo applied. The chance of a slow cor- 
ruption does not strike them. Revolutions arc generally ' 

. V. 


violent and swift ; now, in fact, they are the course of a 


The course of heresies is always short; it is an inter- 
mediate state between life and death, or what is like death ; 
or, if it does not result in death, it is resolved into some 
new, perhaps opposite, course of error, which lays no 
claim to be connected with it. And in this way indeed, 
but in this way only, an heretical principle will con*. 
tinue in life many years, first running one way, then 

The abounding of iniquity is the token of the end 
approaching; the faithful in consequence cry out, How 
long? as if delay opposed reason as well as patience. 
Throe years and a half aro to complete the reign of Anti- 

]S T or is it any real objection that the world is ever cor- 
rupt, and yet, in spite of this, evil does not fill up its 
measure and overflow ; for this arises from the external 
coxmtcractions of truth and virtue, which boar it back ; 
let^the Church be removed, and the world will soon come 
to its end. 

And so again, if tho chosen people ago after age became 
worse and worse, till there was no recovery, still their 
course of evil was continually broken by reformations, 
and was thrown back upon a loss advanced stage of 


It is tru6 that decay, which is ono form of corruption, is 
slow ; but decay is a state in which there is no violent or 
vigorous action at all, whether of a conservative or a 
destructive character, the hostile influence being powerful 
enough to enfeeble the functions of life, bat not to quicken 


its own process. And thus we see opinions, usages, and 
systems, which are of venerable and imposing aspect, hut 
which have no soundness within them, and keep together 
from a habit of consistence, or from dependence on poli- 
tical institutions ; or they become almost peculiarities of a 
country, or the habits of a race, or the fashions of society. 
And then, at length, perhaps, they go off suddenly and 
die out under the first rough influence from without. 
Such are the superstitions which pervade a population, 
like some ingrained dye or inveterate odour, and which at 
length come to an end, because nothing lasts for ever, but 
which run no course, and have no history ; such was the 
established paganism of classical times, which was the fit 
subject of persecution, for its first breath made it crumble 
and disappear. Such apparently is the state of the Nes- 
torian and Monophysite communions; such might have 
been the condition of Christianity had it been absorbed by 
the feudalism of the middle ages ; such too is that Protes- 
tantism, or (as it sometimes calls itself) attachment to the 
Establishment, which is not unf requently the boast of the 
respectable and wealthy among ourselves. 

Whether Mahometanism external to Christendom, and 
the Greek Church within it, fall under this description is 
yet to be seen. Circumstances can be imagined which 
would even now rouse the fanaticism of the Moslem , and 
the Russian despotism does not meddle with the usages, 
though it may domineer over the priesthood, of the 
national religion. 

Thus, while a corruption is distinguished from decay by 
its energetic action, it is distinguished from a development 
by its transitory character. 

Such are seven out of various Notes, which may be 


assigned, of fidelity in the development of an idea. The 
point to be ascertained is the unity and identity of the 
idea with itself through all stages of its development from 
first to last, and these are seven tokens that it may rightly 
be accounted one and the same all along. To guarantee 
its own substantial unity, it must be seen to be one in type, 
one in its system of principles, one in its unitive power to- 
wards externals, one in its logical consecutiveness, one in 
the witness of its early phases to its later, one in the pro- 
tection which its later extend to its earlier, and one in its 
union of vigour with continuance, that is, in its tenacity. 





Now let me attempt to apply the foregoing seven Notes 
of fidelity in intellectual developments to the instance of 
Christian Doctrine. And first as to the Note of identity of 

I have said above, that, whereas all great ideas are 
found, as time goes on, to involve much which was not seen 
at first to belong to them, and have developments, that is 
enlargements, applications, uses and fortunes, very various, 
one security against error a,nd perversion in theprocess is the 
maintenance of the original type, which the idea presented 
to the world at its origin, amid and through all its apparent 
changes and vicissitudes from first to last. 

How does this apply to Christianity ? What is its original 
type ? and has that type been preserved in the develop- 
ments commonly called Catholic, which have followed, and 
in the Church which embodies and teaches them ? Let 
us take it as the world now views it in its age ; and let us 
take it as the world once viewed it in its youth , and let us 
see whether there be any great difference between the early 
and the later description of it. The following statement 
will show my meaning : 


There is a religious communion claiming a divine com- 
mission, and holding all other religious bodies around it 
heretical or infidel ; it is a well-organized, well-disciplined 
body; it is a sort of secret society, binding together its 
members by influences and by engagements which it is 
difficult for strangers to ascertain. It is spread over the 
known world ; it may be weak or insignificant locally, but 
it is strong on the whole from its continuity ; it may be 
smaller than all other religious bodies together, but is 
larger than each separately. It is a natural enemy to 
governments external to itself; it is intolerant and en- 
grossing, and tends to a new modelling of society; it 
breaks laws, it divides families. It is a gross superstition ; 
it is charged with the foulest crimes ; it is despised by the 
intellect of the day ; it is frightful to the imagination of 
the many. And there is but one communion such. 

Place this description before Pliny or Julian ; place it 
before Frederick the Second or Guizot. 1 " Apparent dira) 
faeies." Each knows at once, without asking a question, 
who is meant by it. One object, and only one, absorbs 
each item of the detail of the delineation. 



The prhndfacw view of early Christianity, in the eyes of 
witnesses external to it, is presented to us in the brief but 
vivid descriptions given by Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, 
the only heathen writers who distinctly mention it for the 
firsi hundred and fifty years. 

Tacitus is led to speak of the Religion, on occasion of 

1 [This juxtaposition of names has been strangoly distorted by critics, 
In the intention of the author, Gui&ofc matched with Pliny, nofc with 


the conflagration of Rome, which was popularly imputed 
to Nero. "To put an end to the report/' he says, " he 
laid the guilt on others, and visited them with the most 
exquisite punishment, those, namely, who, held in abhor- 
rence for their crimes (per flugitia mvisot), were popularly 
called Christians. The author of that profession (nommis) 
was Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was capitally 
punished by the Procurator, Pontius Pilate, The deadly 
superstition (exit iab Ills superstitio) , though checked for a 
while, broke out afresh ; and that, not only throughout 
Judaea, the original seat of the evil, but through the City 
also, whither all things atrocious or shocking (atrocia ant 
pudenda] flow together from every quarter and thrive. At 
first, certain were seized who avowed it ; then, on their 
report, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much of firing 
the City, as of hatred of mankind (odio humani generis}"* 
After describing their tortures, he continues " In conse- 
quence, though they were guilty, and deserved most signal 
punishment, they began to be pitied, as if destroyed not for 
any public object, but from the barbarity of one man." 

Suetonius relates the same transactions thus : " Capita! 
punishments were inflicted on the Christians, a class of 
men of a new and magical superstition (mperstitioni's novm 
et malefccB)" What gives additional character to this 
statement is its context ; for it occurs as one out of various 
police or sumptuary or domestic regulations, which Nero 
made ; such as " controlling private expenses, forbidding 
taverns to serve meat, repressing the contests of theatrical 
parties, and securing the integrity of wills." 

When Pliny was Governor of Pontus, he wrote his 
celebrated letter to the Emperor Trajan, to ask advice 
how he was to deal with the Christians,, whom he found 
there in great numbers. One of his points of hesitation 
was, whether the very profession of Christianity was not by 
itself sufficient to justify punishment ; " whether the name 


itself should be visited, though cl^ar of flagitious acts 
(fayitia], or only when connected with them." He says, 
he had ordered for execution such as persevered in their 
profession, after repeated warnings, " as not doubting, what- 
ever it was they professed, that at any rate contumacy and 
inflexible obstinacy ought to be punished." lie required 
them to invoke the gods, to sacrifice wine and frankincense 
to the images of the Emporor, and to blaspheme Christ ; 
" to which/* 7 he adds, <e it is said no real Christian can be 
compelled." Hencgades informed him that "the sum 
total of their offence or fault was meeting before light on 
an appointed clay, and saying with one another a form of 
words (carmen) to Christ, as if to a god, and binding them- 
selves by oath, (not to the commission of any wickedness, 
but) against the commission of theft, robbery, adultery, 
breach of tiust, denial of deposits; that, after this they 
were accustomed to separate, and then to meet again for 
a meal, but eaten all together and harmless ; however, that 
they had even left this oif a 'tor his edicts enforcing the 
Imperial prohibition of Ilctwice or Associations/* He 
proceeded to put two women to the torture, but " discovered 
nothing beyond a bad and excessive superstition " (nuper- 
stitionem pmvam et immodicam}, " the contagion " of which, 
he continues, " had spread through villages and country, 
till the temples were emptied of worshippers/' 


In these testimonies, which will form a natural and 
convenient text for what is to follow, wo have various 
characteristics brought before us of the religion to which 
they relate. It was a superstition, as all throe writers 
agree; a bad and excessive superstition, according to 
Pliny; a magical superstition, according to Suetonius; a 
deadly superstition, according to Tacitus. Next, it was 
embodied in a society, and moreover a secret and unlawful 


society or liotwna ; and it was a proselytizing society ; and 
its very name was connected with " flagitious," "atrocious," 
and "shocking" acts. 


Now these few points, which are not all which might be 
set down, contain in themselves a distinct and significant 
description of Christianity ; but they have far greater 
meaning when illustrated by the history of the times, 
the testimony of later writers, and the acts of the Roman 
government towards its professors. It is impossible to 
mistake the judgment passed on the religion by these three 
writers, and still more clearly by other writers and Impe- 
Tial functionaries. They evidently associated Christianity 
with the oriental superstitions, whether propagated by 
individuals or embodied in a rite, which were in that day 
traversing the Empire, and which in the event acted so 
remarkable a part in breaking up the national forms of 
worship, and so in preparing the way for Christianity. 
This, then, is the broad view which the educated heathen 
took of Christianity ; and, if it had been very unlike those 
rites and curious arts in external appearance, they would 
not have confused it with them. 

Changes in society are, by a providential appointment, 
commonly preceded and facilitated by the setting in of a 
certain current in men's thoughts and feelings in that 
direction towards which a change is to be made. And, as 
lighter substances whirl about before the tempest and 
presage it, so words and deeds, ominous but not effective 
of the coming revolution, are circulated beforehand through 
the multitude, or pass across the field of events. This was 
specially the case with Christianity, as became its high 
dignity ; it came heralded and attended by a crowd of 
shadows, shadows of itself, impotent and monstrous as 
shadows are, but not at first sight distinguishable from it 

p 2 


"by common spectators. Before the mission of the Apostles, 
a movement, of which there had been earlier parallels, had 
begun in Egypt, Syria, and the neighbouring countries, 
tending to the propagation of new and peculiar forms of 
worship throughout the Empire. Prophecies were afloat 
that some new order of things was coming in from the 
East, which increased the existing unsettlement of the 
popular mind ; pretenders made attempts to satisfy its 
wants, and old Traditions of the Truth, embodied for ages 
in local or in national religions, gave to these attempts a 
doctrinal and ritual shape, which became an additional 
point of resemblance to that Truth which was soon visibly 
fco appear. 

The distinctive chnracter of the rites in question lay in 
their appealing to the gloomy rather than to the cheerful 
and hopeful feelings, and in their influencing the mind 
through fear. The notions of guilt and expiation, of evil and 
good to come, and of dealings with the invisible world, were 
in some shape or other pre-eminent in them, and formed a 
striking contrast to the classical polytheism, which was gay 
and graceful, as was natural in a civilized age. The new 
rites, on the other hand, were secret ; their doctrine was 
mysterious; their profession was a discipline, beginning in 
a formal initiation, manifested in an association, and exer- 
cised in privation and pain. They were from the nature 
of the case proselytizing societies, for they were rising into 
power ; nor were they local, but vagrant, restless, intru- 
sive, and encroaching. Their pretensions to supernatural 
knowledge brought them into easy connexion with magic 
and astrology, which are as attractive to the wealthy 
and luxurious as the more vulgar superstitions to the 



Such were the rites of Cybele, Isis, and Mithras ; sucli 
the Chaldeans, as they were commonly called, and the 
Magi ; they came from one part of the world, and during 
the first and second century spread with busy perseverance 
to the northern and western, extremities of the empire. 2 
Traces of the mysteries of Cybele, a Syrian deity, if the 
famous temple at Hierapolis was hers, have been found in 
Spain, in Gaul, and in Britain, as high up as the wall of 
SeveruSo The worship of Isis was the most widely spread 
of all the pagan deities ; it was received in Ethiopia and 
in Germany, and even the name of Paris has been fanci- 
fully traced to it* Both worships, as well as the Science of 
Magic, had their colleges of priests and devotees, which 
were governed by a president, and in some places were 
supported by farms. Their processions passed from town 
to town, begging as they went and attracting proselytes. 
Apuleius describes one of them as seizing a whip, accusing 
himself of some offence, and scourging himself in public. 
These strollers, circulator es or agyrta in classical language, 
told fortunes, and distributed prophetical tickets to the 
ignorant people who consulted them. Also, they were 
learned in the doctrine of omens, of lucky and unlucky 
days, of the rites of expiation and of sacrifices. Such an 
ayyrtes or itinerant was the notorious Alexander of Abo- 
riot ichus, till he managed to establish himself in Pontus, 
where he carried on so successful an imposition that his 
fame reached Rome, and men in office and station entrusted 
him with their dearest political secrets. Such a wanderer, 
with a far more religious bearing and a high reputation for 
virtue, was Apollonius of Tyana, who professed the Py tha- 

* Vid. Muller de Hierarch. et Ascetic. Warburton, Div. Leg ii. 4. Selden 
de Diis Syr. Acad. des Iiiscript. t. 3, hist. p. 296, t. 5, inein. p. 63, fc, 16 
meui. p. 267. Lucian. Pseudomunt. Cod. Theod. ix. 16. 

214 THE CHCTECH OF [CH. 71. 

gorean philosophy, claimed the gift of miracles, and 
roamed about preaching, teaching, healing, and prophesy- 
ing from India and Alexandria to Athens and Rome. 
Another solitary proselytizer, though of an earlier time 
and of an avowed profligacy, had been the Sacrificulus, 
viewed with such horror by the Roman Senate, as intro- 
ducing the infamous Bacchic rites into Rome. Such, again, 
were those degenerate children of a divine religion, who, in 
the words of their Creator and Judge, " compassed sea and 
land to make one proselyte/' and made him " twofold more 
the child of hell than themselves.^ 


These vagrant religionists for the most part professed a 
severe rule of life, and sometimes one of fanatical mortifi- 
cation. In the mysteries of Mithras, the initiation a was 
preceded by fasting and abstinence, and a variety of pain- 
ful trials ; it was made by means of a baptism as a spiritual 
washing; and it included an offering of bread, and some 
emblem of a resurrection. In the Samothracian rites it 
had been a custom to initiate children ; confession too of 
greater crimes seems to have boon required, and would 
naturally be involved in others in the inquisition prosecuted 
into the past lives of the candidates for initiation. The 
garments of the converts were white; their calling was 
considered as a warfare (m Hitia), and was undertaken with 
a sacramciduw, or military oath. The priests shaved their 
heads and wore linen, and when they were dead were 
buried in a sacerdotal garment. It is scarcely necessary 
to refer to the mutilation inflicted on the priests of Cybele ; 
one instance of their scour^ingahas been already mentioned; 
and Tertullian speaks of their high priest cutting his arms 

* Acacl. 1. 16. mcna. a. 274k 


for the life of the Emperor Marcus. 4 The priests of Isis, 
in lamentation for Osiris, tore their breasts with pine cones. 
This lamentation was a ritual observance, founded on sonie 
religious mystery : Isis lost Osiris, and the initiated wept 
in memory of her sorrow ; the Syrian goddess had wept 
over dead Thammuz, and her mystics commemorated it "by 
a ceremonial woe ; in the rites of Bacchus, an image was 
laid on a bier at midnight, 5 which was bewailed in. 
metrical hymns ; the god was supposed to die, and then to 
revive. Nor was this the only worship which was con- 
tinued through the night ; while some of the rites were 
performed in caves. 


Only a heavenly light can give purity to nocturnal 
and subterraneous worship. Caves were at that time 
appropriated to the worship of the infernal gods. It was 
but natural that these wild religious should be connected 
with magic and its kindred arts ; magic has at all times 
led to cruelty, and licentiousness would "be the inevitable 
reaction from a temporary strictness. An extraordinary 
profession, when men are in a state of mere nature, makes 
hypocrites or madmen, and will in no long time be discarded 
except by the few. The world of that day associated 
together in one company, Isiac, Phrygian, Mithriac, 
Chaldean, wizard, astrologer, fortune-teller, itinerant, and, 
as was not unnatural, Jew. Magic was professed by the 
profligate Alexander, and was imputed to the grave Apol- 
lonius. The rites of Mithras came from the Magi of Persia ; 
and it is obviously difficult to distinguish in principle the 
ceremonies of the Syrian Taurobolium from those of the 
Necyomantia in the Odyssey, or of Canidia in Horace. 

4 Apol. 25. Vid. also Prudent, iu hon. Koniani, circ. fin. and Lucian de 
Deo Syr. 50. 

* Vid. also the scene in Jul. Firm. p. 449. 


The Thcodosian Code calls magic generally a " supersti- 
tion ;" and magic, orgies, mysteries, and " sabbathizings," 
were referred to the same " barbarous " origin. " Magical 
superstitions/* the " rites of the Magi," the " promises of 
the Chaldeans/* and the " Mathematici," are familiar to 
the readers of Tacitus. The Emperor Otho, an avowed 
patron of oriental fashions, took part in the rites of Isis, 
and consulted the Mathematici. Vespasian, who also con- 
sulted them, is heard of in Egypt as performing miracles 
at the tuggestion of Serapis. Tiberius, in an edict, classes 
together " Egyptian and Jewish rites /' and Tacitus and 
Suetonius, in recording it, speak of the two religions to- 
gether as " ea mperstitio." 6 Augustus had already associ- 
ated them together as superstitions, and as unlawful, and 
that in contrast to others of a like foreign origin. " As to 
foreign rites (peregrine? cercmouite)," says Suetonius, " as he 
paid more reverence to those which wore old and enjoined, 
so did he hold tho rest in contempt." 7 lie goes on to say 
bhat, even on the judgment-seat, he had recognized the 
Eleusinian priests, into whose mysteries he had been initi- 
ated at Athens ; " whereas, when travelling in Egypt, he 
Lad refused to see Apis, and had approved of his grandson 
Caligula's passing by Judaea without sacrificing at Jeru- 
salem." Plutarch speaks of magic as connected with the 
mournful mysteries of Orpheus and Zoroaster, with the 
Egyptian and the Phrygian; and, in his Treatise on 
Superstition, he puts together in one clause, as specimens 
of that disease of mind, "covering oneself with mud, 
.wallowing in the mire, sabbathizings, fallings on the face, 
unseemly postures, foreign adorations/ 3 8 Ovid mentions' 
in consecutive verses the rites of "Adonis lamented by 
Venus," ".Tho Sabbath of the Syrian Jew," and the 
" Memphitic Temple of lo in her linen dress," 9 Juvenal 

* Tac. Ann. ii. 85 ; Sncton. Tiber 36. 7 August. 93. 

8 De Supwat. 8, 9 De Art. Am. i. init. 


speaks of the rites, as well as the language and the music, 
of the Syrian Orontes having flooded Rome ; and, in his 
description of the superstition of the Roman women, he 
places the low Jewish fortune-teller between the pompous 
priests of Oybele and Isis, a,nd the bloody witchcraft of 
the Armenian haruspex and the astrology of the 
Chaldeans. 1 

The Christian, being at first accounted a kind of Jew, 
was even on that score included in whatever odium, and 
whatever bad associations, attended on the Jewish name. 
But in a little time his independence of the rejected people 
was clearly understood, as even the persecutions show ; and 
he stood upon his own ground. Still his character did not 
change in the eyes of the world ; for favour or for reproach, 
he was still associated with the votaries of secret and magi- 
cal rites. The Emperor Hadrian, noted as he is for his 
inquisitive temper, and a partaker in so many mysteries, 2 
still believed that the Christians of Egypt allowed them- 
selves in the worship of Serapis. They are brought into 
connexion with the magic of Egypt in the history of what 
is commonly called the Thundering Legion, so far as this, 
that the rain which relieved the Emperor's army in the 
field, and which the Church ascribed to the prayers of 
the Christian soldiers, is by Dio Cassius attributed to an 
Egyptian magician, who obtained it by invoking Mercury 
and other spirits. This war had been the occasion of one 
of the first recognitions which the state had conceded to 
the Oriental rites, though statesmen and emperors, as 
private men, had long taken part in them. The Emperor 
Marcus had been urged by his fears of the Marcomanni to 
resort to these foreign introductions, and is said to have 
employed Magi and Chaldeans in averting an unsuccessful 
1 Sat. iii. vi. 2 Tertul. Ap. 5. 


issue of the war. It is observable that, in the growinc* 
countenance which was extended to these rite's in the 
third century, Christianity came in for a share. The chapel 
of Alexander Severus contained statues of Abraham, 
Orpheus, Apollonius, Pythagoras, and our Lord. Here 
indeed, as in the case of Zenobia's Judaism, an eclectic 
philosophy aided the comprehension of religions. But, 
immediately before Alexander, Ileliogabalus, who was no 
philosopher, while he formally seated his Syrian idol in 
the Palatine, while he observed the mysteries of Cybele 
arid Adonis, and celebrated his magic rites with human 
victims, intended also, according to Lampridius, to unite 
with his horrible superstition " the Jewish and Samaritan 
religions and the Christian rite, that so the priesthood of 
Heliogabalus might comprise the mystery of every 
worship/' 3 Hence, more or less, the stories which occur 
in ecclesiastical history of the conversion or good-will 
of the emperors to the Christian faith, of Hadrian, 
Mammnoa, uncl others, besides lloliogabalus and Alexander. 
Such stories might often mean little more than that they 
favoured it among other forms of Oriental superstition. 


What has been said is sufficient to bring before the 
mind an historical fact, which indeed does not need 
evidence. Upon the established religions of Europe the 
East had renewed her encroachments, and was pouring 
forth a family of rites which in various ways attracted the 
attention of the luxurious, tho political, the ignorant, the 
restless, and the remorseful. Armenian, Ohaldee, Egyp- 
tian, Jew, Syrian, Phrygian, as the case might be, was 
the designation of the now hierophant; and magic, 
superstition, barbarism, jugglery, were tho names given 
to his rite by the world. In this company appeared 
s Vit. Hoi. 3. 

SECT. I.] THE tflKST CENTUftlES. 219 

Christianity. When then three well-informed writers 
call Christianity a superstition and a magical superstition, 
they were not using words at random, or the language of 
abuse, but they were describing it in distinct and recog- 
nized terms as connate to those gloomy, secret, odious, 
disreputable religions which were making so much dis- 
turbance up and down the empire. 


The impression made on the world by circumstances 
immediately before the rise of Christianity received a sort of 
confirmation upon its rise, in the appearance of the Gnostic 
and kindred heresies, which issued from the Church during 
the second and third centuries. Their resemblance in 
rifcual and constitution to the Oriental religions, sometimes 
their historical relationship, is undeniable ; and certainly 
it is a singular coincidence, that Christianity should be 
first called a mapicul superstition by Suetonius, and then 
should be found in the intimate company, and seemingly 
the parent, of a multitude of magical superstitions, if there 
was nothing in the Religion itself to give rise to such a 


The Gnostic family 4 suitably traces its origin to a mixed 
race, which had commenced its national history by associat- 
ing Orientalism with Revelation. After the captivity of the 
ten tribes, Samaria was colonized by " men from Babylon 
and Cushan, and from Ava, and from Ilamath, and from 
Sepharvaim," who were instructed at their own instance 
in "the manner of the God of the land," by one of the 
priests of the Church of Jeroboam', The consequence 
was, that "they feared the Lord and served their own 

* Vid. Tillemont, Mem. and Lardner's Hist. Heretics. 

220 THE CHURCH OP [OH. vr. 

gods." Of this country was Simon, the reputed patriarch, 
of the Gnostics; and he is introduced in the Acts of the 
Apostles as professing those magical powers which were 
so principal a characteristic of the Oriental mysteries. 
His heresy, though "broken into a multitude of sects, was 
poured over the world with a Catholicity not inferior in 
its day to that of Christianity. St. Peter, who fell in with 
him originally in Samaria, seems to have encountered him 
again at Home, At Rome, St. Poly carp met Marcion of 
Pontus, whose followers spread through Italy, Egypt, 
Syria, Arabia, and Persia ; Valenthms preached his 
doctrines in Alexandria, Homo, and Cyprus ; and we read 
of his disciples in Crete, Cuosarca, Antioch, and other parts 
of the East. Bardesanes and his followers were found in 
Mesopotamia. The Carpocratians arc spoken of at Alexan- 
dria, at Rome, and in Cephallenia ; the Basilidians spread 
through the greater part of Egypt; the Ophites were 
apparently in Bithynia and Galatia; the Cainites or 
Caians in Africa, and the Marcosians in Gaul. To these 
must be added several sects, which, though not strictly of 
the Gnostic stock, are associated with them in date, 
character, and origin ; the Ebionites of Palestine, the 
Corinthians, who rose in some part of Asia Minor, the 
Encratites and kindred sects, who spread from Mesopotamia 
to Syria, to Cilicia and other provinces of Asia Minor, and 
thence to Rome, Gaul, Aquitaine, and Spain ; and the 
Montanists, who, with a town in Phrygia for their 
metropolis, reached at length from Constantinople to 

"When [the reader of Christian history] comes to the 
second century/' saya Dr. Burton, " he finds that Gnosti- 
cism, under some form or other, was professed in every 
part of the then civilized world. lie finds it divided into 
schools, as numerously and as zealously attended as any 
which Greece or Asia could boast in their happiest days. 


He meets with names totally unknown to him betore, which 
excited as much sensation as those of Aristotle or Plato. 
He hears of volumes having been written in support of this 
new philosophy, not one of which has survived to our own 
day." 5 Many of the founders of these sects had been 
Christians ; others were of Jewish parentage ; others were 
more or less connected in fact with the Pagan rites to 
which their own bore so great a resemblance. M ontanus 
seems even to have been a mutilated priest of Oybele ; the 
followers of Prodicus professed to possess the secret books 
of Zoroaster ; and the doctrine of dualism, which so many 
of the sects held, is to be traced to the same source. 
Basilides seems to have recognized Mithras as the Supreme 
Being, or the Prince of Angels, or the Sun, if Mithras is 
equivalent to Abraxas, which was inscribed upon his 
amulets : on the other hand, he is said to have been 
taught by an immediate disciple of St. Peter, and Valen- 
tinus by an immediate disciple of St. Paul. Marcion was 
the son of a Bishop of Pontus ; Tatian, a disciple of St. 
Justin Martyr. 


"Whatever might be the history of these sects, and 
though it may be a question whether they can be properly 
called " superstitions," and though many of them numbered 
, educated men among their teachers and followers, they 
closely resembled, at least in ritual and profession, the 
vagrant Pagan mysteries which have been above described. 
Their very name of " Gnostic " implied the possession of 
a secret, which was to be communicated to their disciples. 
Ceremonial observances were the preparation, and sym- 
bolical rites the instrument, of initiation. Tatian and 
Montanus, the representatives of very distinct schools, 
agreed in making asceticism a rule of life. The followers 

* Bampton Lect. 2. 


of each of these sectaries abstained from wine; the 
Tatiunites and Marcionites, from flesh ; the Montanisfo 
kopt three Lents in the year. All the Gnostic sect* 
Room to have condemned marriage on one or othei 
reason. The Marciomtes had three baptisms or more 
the JIarcosians had two rites of what they called redemp- 
tion; the latter of those was celebrated as a marriage 
and the room adorned as a marriage-chamber. A con- 
Neeration to a priesthood then followed with anointing 
An extreme unction was another of their rites, anc 
prayers for the dead one of their observances. Ikrde- 
sunes and JTarmonius wore famous for the beauty of theii 
cliuutH. The prophecies of Mont anus were delivered 
liko the. oruoles of the heathen, in a stato of enthusiasm 0] 
ecstasy. To Epiphunes, the son of Carpoorates, wh< 
die<l at tho ago of seventeen, a temple was erected in th< 
inland of Cephallenia, his mother's birthplace, where h< 
was celebrated with hymns and sucniiees. A siinila 
honour was paid by tho Carpoe.ratians to Homer, Pytha 
gurus, Pluto, Aristotle, as well unto the Apostles; crown 
\\ere placed upon their images, and incense burned befor 
thorn. lu one of tho inscriptions found at Gyrene, abou 
twenty years ninco, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicurus, aa< 
otlterK, are put together with our Lord, as guides of con 
cluctu These inscriptions- also contain tho Carpocratiai 
tenet of a community of women, I am unwilling t 
allude to tho A gaps o and Communions of certain of thes 
sects, which were not ur passed in profligacy by th 
Pagan rites of which they were an imitation. The ver 
name of Gnostic became an expression for tho wors 
impurities, and no ouo dared eat bread with them, or ua 
their culinary instruments or plates. 

9 Burton, Buiupton Led. uote 61. 



These profligate excesses are found in connexion with the 
exercise of magic and astrology. 7 The amulets of the 
Basilidians are still extant in great numbers, inscribed 
with symbols, some Christian, some with figures of Isis, 
Serapis, and Anubis, represented according to the gross 
indecencies of the Egyptian mythology. 8 St. Irenseus 
had already connected together the two crimes in speak- 
ing of the Simonians : ** Their mystical priests," he says, 
" live in lewdness, and practise magic, according to the 
ability of each. They use exorcisms and incantations; 
love-potions too, and seductive spells ; the virtue of 
spirits, and dreams, and all other curious arts, they 
diligently observe." 9 The Marcosians were especially 
devoted to these te curious arts," which are also ascribed 
to Carpocrates and Apelles. Marcion and others are 
reported to have used astrology. Tertullian speaks 
generally of the sects of his day: "Itffamous are the 
dealings of the heretics with sorcerers very many, with 
mountebanks, with astrologers, with philosophers, to wit, 
such as are given to curious questions. They everywhere 
remember, ' Seek, and ye shall find.' " l 

Such were the Gnostics ; and to external and prejudiced 
spectators, whether philosophers, as Celsus and Porphyry, 
or the multitude, they wore an appearance sufficiently like 
the Church to be mistaken for her in the latter part of 
the Ante-nicene period, as she was confused with the 
'Pagan mysteries in the earlier. 


Of course it may happen that the common estimate 
concerning a person or a body is purely accidental and 

7 Burton, Bamptou Lect. note 44. 

8 Moutfaucoiij Antiq. t. H. part 2, p. 353. 

9 Han*, i. 20. * De Prsescr. 43. 

224 THE CHURCH 01 [OH. VI. 

unfounded; but in such cases it is not lasting. Such 
were the calumnies of child-eating and impurity in the 
Christian meetings, which were almost extinct by the 
time of Origen, and which might arise from the world's 
confusing them with the pagan and heretical rites. But 
when it continues from age to age, it is certainly an index 
of a fact, and corresponds to definite qualities in the 
object to which it relates. In that case, even mistakes 
carry information ; for they are cognate to the truth, and 
we can allow for them. Often what seems like a mistake 
is merely the mode in which tho informant conveys his 
testimony, or tho impression which a fact makes on him. 
Censure is the natural tone of one man in a case where 
praise is the natural tone of another ; the very same 
character or action inspires one mind with enthusiasm, 
and another with contempt. What to one man is mag- 
nanimity, to another is romance, and prido to a third, and 
pretence to a fourth, while to a fifth it is simply unin- 
telligible ; and yet there is a certain analogy in their 
separate testimonies, which conveys to us what the thing 
is like and what it is not like. When a man's acknow- 
ledged note is superstition, we may be pretty sure we 
shall not find him an Academic or an Epicurean ; and 
even words which are ambiguous, as " atheist," or " re- 
former/' admit of a sure interpretation when we are 
informed of the speaker. In like manner, there is a 
certain general correspondence between magic and miracle, 
obstinacy and faith, insubordination and zeal for religion, 
sophistry and argumentative talent, craft and meekness, 
as is obvious. Let us proceed then in our contemplation 
of this reflection, as it may be colled of primitive Chris- 
tianity in the mirror of the world. 


All three writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, call it 


a " superstition ;" this is no accidental imputation, but 
is repeated by a variety of subsequent writers and 
speakers. The charge of Thyestean banquets scarcely lasts 
' a hundred years ; but, while pagan witnesses are to be 
found, the Church is accused of superstition. The 
heathen disputant in Minucius calls Christianity, " Vana 
et demcns supprstitio" The lawyer Modestinus speaks, 
with an apparent allusion to Christianity, of " weak minds 
being terrified superset tone nuwinis. 39 The heathen 
magistrate asks St. Marcelius, whether he and others 
have put away "vain superstitions/* and worship the 
gods whom the emperors worship. The Pagans in Arno- 
bius speak of Christianity as " an execrable and unlucky 
religion, full of impiety and sacrilege, contaminating the 
rites instituted from of old with the superstition of its 
novelty/' The anonymous opponent of Lactaritius calls 
it, <e Impia et anllis superstitlo" Diocletian's inscription 
at Clunia was, as it declared, on occasion of " the total 
extinction of the superstition of the Christians, and the 
extension of the worship of the gods." Maximin, in his 
Letter upon Constantine's Edict, still calls it a supersti- 
tion. 2 


Now what is meant by the word thus attached by a 
consensus of heathen authorities to Christianity ? At least, 
it cannot mean a religion in which a man might think 
what he pleased, and was set free from all yokes, whether 
of ignorance, fear, authority, .or priestcraft. When 
heathen writers call the Oriental rites superstitions, they 
evidently use the word in its modern sense ; it cannot surely 
be doubted that they apply it in the same sense to Chris- 
tianity. But Plutarch explains for us the word at length, 

* Vid. Kortliolfc, in Pirn, et Traj, Epp. p. 152. Comment, in Minuc. 


in his Treatise which bears the name : " Of all kinds ol 
fear," he says, "superstition is the most fatal to action 
and resource. He does not fear the sea who does not sail, 
nor war who does not serve, nor robbers who keeps at home, 
nor the sycophant who is poor, nor the envious if he is a 
private man, nor an earthquake if he lives in Graul, nor 
thunder if he lives in Ethiopia \ but he who fears the gods 
fears everything, earth, seas, air, sky, darkness, light, 
noises, silence, sleep. Slaves sleep and forget their 
masters; of the fettered doth sleep lighten the chain; 
inflamed wounds, ulcers cruel and agonizing, are not felt 
by the sleeping. Superstition alone has come to no terms 
with sleep ; but in the very sleep of her victims, as though 
they were in the realms of the impious, she raises horrible 
spectres, and mon&trous phantoms, and various pains, and 
whirls the miserable soul about, and persecutes it They 
rise, and, instead of making light of what is unreal, they 
fall into the hands of quacks and conjurers, who say, * Call 
the crone to expiate, bathe in the sea, and sit all day on 
the ground.' *' lie goes on to speak of the introduction of 
ie uncouth names and barbarous terms " into " the divine 
and national authority of religion ;" observes that, whereas 
slaves, when they despair of freedom, may demand to be 
sold to another master, superstition admits of no change 
of gods, since " the god cannot be found whom he will not ' 
fear, who fears the gods of his family and his birth, who 
shudders at the Saving and the Benignant, who has a 
trembling and dread at those from whom we ask riches 
and wealth, concord, peace, success of nil good words and 
deeds." Ho says, moreover, that, while death is to all 
men an end ol life, it is not so to the superstitious ; for 
then " there are deep gates of hell to yawn, and headlong 
stream** of at onco fire and gloom arc opened, and darkness 
with its many phantoms encompasses, ghosts presenting 
torrid visugcs and wretched voices, and judges and 


executioners, and chasms and dens full of innumerable 

Presently, be says, that in misfortune or sickness the 
superstitious man refuses to see physician or philosopher, 
and cries, " Suffer me, man, to undergo punishment, the 
impious, the cursed, the hated of gods and spirits. The 
Atheist/' with whom all along he is contrasting the super- 
stitious disadvantageously, *' wipes his tears, trims his 
hair, doffs his mourning ; but how can you address, how 
help the superstitious? He sits apart in sackcloth or 
filthy rags ; and often he strips himself and rolls in the 
mud, and tells out his sins and offences, as having eaten 
and drunken something, or walked some way which the 
divinity did not allow. . . . And in his hest mood, and 
under the influence of a good-humoured supersition, he 
sits at home, with sacrifice and slaughter all round him, 
while the old crones hang on him as on a peg, as Bion 
says, any charm they fall in with/' He continues, 
""What men like best are festivals, banquets at the 
temples, initiations, orgies, votive prayers, and adorations. 
But the superstitious wishes indeed, but is unable to rejoice. 
He is crowned and turns pale ; he sacrifices and is in fear ; 
he prays with a quivering voice, and burns incense with 
trembling hands, and altogether belies the saying of 
Pythagoras, that we are then in best case when we go to 
the gods ; for superstitious men are in most wretched and 
evil case, approaching the houses or shrines of the gods as if 
they were the dens of bears, or the holes of snakes, or the 
caves of whales/' 


Here we have a vivid picture of Plutarch's idea of the 
essence of Superstition ; it was the imagination, of the 
existence of an unseen ever-present Master ; the bondage 
of a rule of life, of a continual responsibility ; obligation 

Q 2 


to attend to little things, the impossibility of escaping from 
duty, the inability to choose or change one's religion, 
an interference with the enjoyment of life, a melancholy 
view of the world, sense of sin, horror at guilt, appre- 
hension of punishment, dread, self-abasement, depression, 
anxiety and endeavour to be at peace with heaven, and 
error and absurdity in the methods chosen for the purpose. 
Such too had been the idea of the Epicurean Velleius, 
when he shrunk with horror from the " sempitemus 
domitius" and " curiosits Dens" of the Stoics. 3 Such, 
surely, was the meaning of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny. 
And hence of course the frequent reproach cast on Christians 
as credulous, weak-minded, and poor-spirited. The heathen 
objectors in Minucius and Lactantius speak of their " old- 
woman's tales." * Cclsus accuses tliem of " assenting at 
random and without reason," saying, "Do not inquire, 
but believe." "They lay it down," ho says elsewhere, 
" Let no educated man approach, no man of wisdom, no 
man of sense ; bat if a man bo mil earned, weak in intellect, 
an infant, lot him come with confidence. Confessing that 
these arc worthy of their Gocl, they evidently desire, as 
they are able, to convert none but fools, and vulgar, and 
stupid, ami slavish, women and boys." They " take in 
the simple, and lead him where they will." They address 
tKemselves to " youths, house-servants, and the weak in, 
intellect." They " hurry away from the educated, as not 
fit subjects of their imposition, and inveigle the rustic." r> 
"Thou/* says the heathen magistrate to the Martyr 
Pructuosus, "who as a teacher dost disseminate a new 

3 *' Ifcnquo imposuistis in cervicibus nosfcris sempiternum dominum, quern 
dios efc noetes thnerenms; quis enim non titneat omuia providentom et 
co^itantcm ct auimadvortetitem, et omnia ad se pertinero putantem, curiosum, 
et plenum negotii Donm ? " do. de Nat. Dear. i. 20. 

< Min. c. 11. Laot. v. 1, 2, vid. Arnob. ii, 8, &c. 

* Origen, coatr* Cols, i. 9, iii. 44>, 50, vi. 44 


fable, that fickle girls may desert the groves and abandon 
Jupiter, condemn, if thou art wise, the anile creed." 6 


Hence the epithets of itinerant! mountebank, conjurer, 
cheat, sophist, sorcerer, heaped upon the teachers of 
Christianity ; sometimes to account for the report or 
apparent truth of their miracles, sometimes to explain their 
success. Our Lord was said to have learned His miracu- 
lous power in Egypt ; " wizard, mediciner, cheat, rogue, 
conjurer," were the epithets applied to Him by the oppo- 
nents of Eusebius ; 7 they " worship that crucified sophist," 
says Lucian ; 8 " Paul, who surpasses all the conjurers and 
Impostors who ever lived," is Julian's account of the 
Apostle. "You have sent through the whole world/' 
says St. Justin to Trypho, "to preach that a certain 
atheistic and lawless sect has sprung from one Jesus, a 
Galilean cheat." * " We know/' says Lucian, speaking of 
Chaldeans and Magicians, " the Syrian from Palestine, 
who is the sophist in these matters, how many lunatics, 
with eyes distorted and mouth in foam, he raises and sends 
away restored, ridding them from the evil at a great 
price." l " If any conjurer came to them, a man of skill 
and knowing how to manage matters," says the same 
writer, " he made money in no time, with a broad grin at 
the simple fellows." 2 The officer who had custody of St. 
Perpetua feared her escape from prison " by magical in- 
cantations." * When St. Tiburtius had walked barefoot 
on hot coals, his judge cried out that Christ had taught 
him magic. St. Anastasia was thrown into prison as a 
mediciner; the populace called out against St. Agnes, 
"Away with the witch/' ToVe magaw, tolls makjicam. 

<s Prudent, in ton. Fruct, 37. 7 Evan. Dem. iii. 3, 4. 

Movt. Peregr. 13. 8 c. 108. l i. e. Plnlop. 16. 

* De Mort. Pez'eg. ibid. * Ruin, ilart. pp. 100, 59A, &c. 

280 THE CHURCH 03? [CH. YI. 

When St. Bonosus and St. Maximilian bore the burning 
pitch without shrinking, Jews and Gentiles cried out, Isti 
magiet malefici. " What new delusion," says the heathen 
magistrate concerning St. Romanus, " has brought in these 
sophists to deny the worship of the gods ? How doth this 
chief sorcerer mock us, skilled by his Thessalian charm 
(carmine) to laugh at punishment. 1 " 4 

Hence we gather the meaning of the word " carmen " as 
used by Pliny ; when he speaks of the Christians " saying 
with one another a carmen to Christ as to a god/' he meant 
pretty much what Suetonius expresses by the " malcjlca 
supcrstttio." 5 And the words of the last-mentioned writer 
and Tacitus are still more exactly, and, I may say, singu- 
larly illustrated by clauses which occur in tlie Theodosian 
code; which seem to show that these historians were using 
formal terms and phrases to express their notion of Chris- 
tianity. For instance, Tacitus pays, " Qtios per fltujitw 
invi&OK, vutyns Christianas ajppellabat ;" and the Law against 
the Mulefici and Mathematici in the Code speaks of those, 
"Qitos obfacinonim magnitudinem vu/yiw vwltfcas appcllat. 3 ^ 
Again, Tacitus charges Christian8withtho"orf/w*Aiwwi 
generis :" this is the very characteristic of a practiser in 
uaagic ; the Laws call the Malefici, " humani f/c^criti hostesf* 
"humani generis inimici^ " natiww pereyrini" "communis 
sakitis hastes." 7 

* Pnwl. in hon. Kom. vv. 404, 8G8. 

6 Wo have specimens otcarmina uncribecUo Christians in the Philopntris. 

6 Goth, in Cod. Th. t. 5, p. 320, ed. 1G65, Again, "Qui inaloiici vulgi 
consuetudine nuncupimtur." Log. 6. So Lactimtius, "Magi ct ii quos 
vcr^ malefieos vu%ns appcllut." lust. ii. 17. " Quos ct maleiicos vulgua 
appollut." August. Civ. Dei, x. 3 0. " Quos vulgus muthomaticos vocat/* 
Hieron. in Ban. c. ii. Vid. Gothof. in loc. Ofclicr laws speak of those who 
were " malcficiorum labe polluti/' and of the " malcticiorum scabies." 

7 Tertulliun too uientiona the charge of " hostes principutn Homanoruin, 
populi, generis human i, Dcorum, Imporatornni, lugani, ntoram, natural 
totius imuiici." Apol 2, 35, 38, ud. Scup. 4 ad. Nut. i. 17. 



This also explains the phenomenon, which has created 
so much surprise to certain moderns ; that a grave, well* 
informed historian like Tacitus should apply to Christians 
what sounds like abuse. Yet what is the difficulty, 
supposing that Christians were considered mathematics! 
and magi, and these were the secret intriguers against 
established government, the allies of desperate politicians, 
the enemies of the established religion, the disseminators 
of lying rumours, the perpetrators of poisonings and other 
crimes ? *' Bead this/' says Paley, after quoting some of 
the most beautiful and subduing passages of St. Paul, 
*' read this, and then think of exitiabllis superstitio;" and 
he goes on to express a wish "in contending with heathen 
authorities, to produce our books against theirs," 8 as if it 
were a matter of books. Public men care very little for 
books ; the finest sentiments, the most luminous philosophy, 
the deepest theology, inspiration itself, moves them but 
little ; they look at facts, and care only for facts. The ques- 
tion was, What was the worth, what the tendency of the 
Christian body in the state ? what Christians said, what 
they thought, was little to the purpose. They might 
exhort to peaceableness and passive obedience as strongly 
as words could speak ; but what did they do, what was 
their political position ? This is what statesmen, thought 
of then, as they do now. What had men of the world to 
do with abstract proofs or first principles ? a statesman 
measures parties, and sects, and writers by their bearing 
upon him; and he has a practised eye in this sort of 
judgment, and is not likely to be mistaken. " * What is 
Truth ? * said jesting Pilate." Apologies, however elo- 
quent or true, availed nothing with the Roman magis- 
trate against the sure instinct which taught him to dread 
9 Evid. part ii. ch, 4 


Christianity, It was a dangerous enemy to any power not 
builfe upon itself; lie felt it, and the event justified his 


We must not forgot the well-known character of the 
Roman state in its dealings with its subjects. It had had 
from the first an extreme jealousy of secret societies; it 
was prepared to grant a large toleration and a broad 
comprehension, but, as is the case with modern govern- 
ments, it wished to have jurisdiction and the ultimate 
authority in every movement of the body politic and social, 
and its civil institutions were based, or essentially 
depended, on its religion. Accordingly, every innovation 
upon the established paganism, except it was allowed by 
the law, was rigidly repressed. Houco the professors of 
low superstitions, of mysteries, of magic, of astrology, 
were the outlaws of society, and were in a condition 
analogous, if the comparison maybe allowed, to smugglers 
or poachers among ourselves, or perhaps to burglars and 
highwaymen. ' The modern robber is sometimes made to 
ask in novels or essays, why the majority of a people should 
bind the minority, and why ho is amenable to laws which 
he docs not enact ; but the magistrate, relying on the 
power of the sword, wishes all men to gain a living indeed, 
and to prosper, but only in his o\\n legally sanctioned 
ways, and he hangs or transports dissenters from his 
authority. The Romans applied this rule to religion* 
Lardner protests against Pliny's application of the words 
" contumacy and inflexible obstinacy " to the Christians 
of Pontus, " Indeed, these are hard words," he says, 
"very improperly applied to men who were open to con- 
viction, and willing to satisfy others, if they might have 
leave to speak, i} * And he says, "It seems to me that 
9 Heathen Teat. 9, 


Pliny acted very arbitrarily and unrighteously, in his 
treatment of the Christians in his province. What right 
had Pliny to act in this manner ? by what law or laws did 
he punish [them] with death ? " but the Romans had 
ever burnt the sorcerer, and banished his consulters for 
life. 1 It was an ancient custom. And at mysteries they 
looked with especial suspicion, because, since the established 
religion did not include them in its provisions, they really 
did supply what may be called a demand of the age. The 
Greeks of an earlier day had naturalized among themselves 
the Eleusinian and other mysteries, which had come from 
Egypt and Syria, and had little to fear from a fresh, 
invasion from the same quarter; yet even in Greece, as 
Plutarch tell us, the " carmina" of the itinerants of 
Cybele and Serapis threw the Pythian verses out of fashion, 
and henceforth the responses from the temple were given 
in prose. Soon the oracles altogether ceased. What 
would cause in the Roman mind still greater jealousy of 
Christianity was the general infidelity which prevailed 
among all classes as regards the mythological fables of 
Charon, Cerberus* and the realms of punishment. 2 


We know what opposition had been made in Rome 
even to the philosophy of Greece ; much greater would be 
the aversion of constitutional statesmen and lawyers to the 
ritual of barbarians. Religion was the Roman point of 
honour. " Spaniards might rival them in numbers," says 
Cicero, "Gauls in bodily strength, Carthaginians in. 
address, Greeks in the arts, Italians and Latins in native 
talent, but the Romans surpassed all nations in piety and 

Gothof, in Cod. Th. t. 5, p. 121. 

* Cic. pro Cluent. 61. Gic^elcr transl. vol. i. p. 21, note 5. Acad. Inscr, 
t. 34. liibt. p. 110* 

234 THE CIIUECH OP [CH. vr. 

devotion." 3 It was one of their laws, "Let no one have 
gods by himself, nor worship in private new gods nor 
adventitious, unless added on public authority." * Luta- 
tius, 5 at the end of the first Punic war, was forbidden by 
the senate to consult the Sortes PraDnestinse as being 
" auspicla alicniyena" Some years afterwards the Consul 
took axe in hand, and commenced the destruction of the 
temples of Isis and Serapis. In the second Punic war, the 
senate had commanded the surrender of the lllrl vaticini 
or prccationes, and any written art of sacrificing. When 
a secret confraternity was discovered, at a later date, the 
Consul spoke of the rule of their ancestors which forbade 
the forum, circus, and city to Sacrificuli and prophets, and 
burnt their books. In the next age banishment was in- 
flicted on individuals who were introducing the worship of 
the Syrian Sabassius; and in the next the Iseion and 
Serapeion were destroyed a second time. Maecenas in Dio 
advises Augustus to honour the gods according to the 
national custom, because the contempt of the country's 
deities leads to civil insubordination, reception of foreign 
laws, conspiracies, and secret meetings. 6 "Sulibr no one," 
he adds, " to deny the gods or to practise sorcery." The 
civilian Julius Paulas lays it down as one of the leading 
principles of lloman Law, that those who introduce new 
or untried religions should be degraded, and if in the 
lower orders put to death. 7 In like manner, it is enacted 
in one of Cons (an tine's Laws that the Haruspices should 
not exercise their art in private ; and there is a law of 
Valentin ian's against nocturnal sacrifices or magic. It is 
more immediately to our purpose that Trajan had been so 
earnest in his resistance to J Interim or secret societies, 
that, when a fire had laid waste Nicomcdia, and Pliny 

* Do IIarup. Kesp. 9. 4 T)o Legg. ii. 8. 

Aead. liiKir. ibid. 8 Nctmder, Eccl. Hist. tr. vol. i. p. 81. 

7 Muller, p. 21, 22, 30. Tcrtull. Ox. tr. p. 12, noto jp. 


proposed to him to incorporate a body, of a hundred and 
fifty firemen in consequence, 8 he was afraid of the prece- 
dent and forbade it. 


What has been said will suggest another point of view 
in which the Oriental rites were obnoxious to the govern- 
ment, viz., as being vagrant and proselytizing religions. 
If it tolerated foreign superstitions, this would be on the 
ground that districts or countries within its jurisdiction 
held them; to proselytize to a rite hitherto unknown, to 
form a new party, and to propagate it through the 
Empire, a religion not local bat Catholic, was an offence 
against both order and reason. The state desired peace 
everywhere, and no change ; " considering," according to 
Lactantius, "that they were rightly and deservedly 
punished who execrated the public religion handed down, 
to them by their ancestors/' 9 

It is impossible surely to deny that, in assembling for 
religious purposes, the Christians were breaking a solemn, 
law, a vital principle of the Roman constitution ; and this 
is the light in which their conduct was regarded by the 
historians and philosophers of tho Empire. This was a 
very strong act on the part of the disciples of the great 
Apostle, who had enjoined obedience to the powers that 
be. Time after time they resisted the authority of the 
magistrate ; and this is a phenomenon inexplicable on the 
theory of Private Judgment or of the Voluntary Principle. 
The justification of such disobedience lies simply in the 
necessity of obeying the higher authority of some divine 
law ; but if Christianity were in its essence only private 
and personal, as so many BOW think, there was no 
necessity of their meeting together at all. If, on the 
other hand, in assembling for worship and holy com 
s Gibbon, Hist, ch 36, note H. 9 Epib. Instit. 55. 

236 THE CHURCH Otf [OH. VI. 

munion, they were fulfilling an indispensable observance, 
Christianity has imposed a social law on the world, and 
formally enters the field of politics. Gibbon says that, in 
consequence of Pliny's edict, " the prudence of the Chris- 
tians suspended their Agupoo; but it was impossible for 
them to ornit the exercise of public worship." 1 "VYe can 
draw no other conclusion. 


At the end of three hundred years, a more remarkable 
violation of law seems to have boon admitted by the Chris- 
tian body. It shall be given in the words of Dr. Burton ; 
he has been speaking of Maxim in's edict, which provided for 
the restitution of any of their lands or buildings which had 
been alienated from them. u It is plain/' he says, " from 
the terms o this edict, that the Christians had for some 
time been in possession of properly. It speaks of houses 
and lands which did not belong to individuals, but to the 
whole body. Their possession of such property could 
hardly have escaped tho notice of the government; but 
it seems to have been held in direct violation of a law of 
Diocletian, which prohibited corporate bodies, or associa- 
tions which were not legally recognised, from acquiring 
property. The Christians were certainly not a body re- 
cognized by law at tho beginning of the reign of 
Diocletian, and it imjilat almost be thought that this 
enactment was specially directed against them. .But, like 
other laws which are ioimde,d upon tyranny, and are at 
variance with tho first principles of justice, it is probable 
that this law about corporate property was evaded. "We 
must suppose that the Christians hud purchased lands 
and houses before the law was gassed ; and their disregard 

Gibbon, ibid. Oripon admits at^ ddtwlB 1 be violation of tbo laws: 

' ;y. C. 

Cols, i. 1. 


of the prohibition may be taken as another proof that 
their religion had now taken so firm a footing that the 
executors of the laws were obliged to connive at their 
being broken by so numerous a body." 2 


TsTo wonder that the magistrate who presided at the 
martyrdom of St. Romanus calls them in Prudentius "a 
rebel people;" 3 that Galerius speaks of them as "a 
nefarious conspiracy;" the heathen in Minucius, as 
"men of a desperate faction;" that others make them 
guilty of sacrilege and treason, and call them by those 
other titles which, more closely resembling the language 
of Tacitus, have been noticed above. Hence the violent 
accusations against them as the destruction of the 
Empire, the authors of physical evils, and the cause of 
the anger of the gods. 

" Men cry out/' says Tertullian, " that the state is beset, 
that the Christians are in their fields, in their forts, in 
their islands. They mourn as for a loss that every sex, 
condition, and now even rank, is going over to this sect. 
And yet they do not by this very means advance their 
minds to the idea of some good therein hidden; they 
allow not themselves to conjecture more rightly, they 
choose not to examine more closely. The generality run 
upon a hatred of this name, with eyes so closed that in 
bearing favourable testimony to any one they mingle 
with it the reproach of the name. *A good man Caius 
Seius, only he is a Christian/ So another, 'I marvel 
that that wise man Lucius Titius hath suddenly become a 
Christian/ No one reflecteth whether Caius be not there- 
fore good and Lucius wise because a Christian, or therefore 
a Christian because wise and good. They praise that 

* Hist. p. 418. 

* In hon. Rom, 62, In Act. S. Cypr. 4, Tcrfc. Apol. 10, &c. 

233 TEE CHURCH OF [oil. VI. 

wliicti they know, they revile that which they know not. 
Virtue is not in such account as hatred of the Chris- 
tians. Now, then, if the hatred be of the name, what 
guilt is there in names ? What charge against words ? 
Unless it be that any word which is a name have either a 
barbarous or ill-omened, or a scurrilous or an immodest 
sound. If the Tiber cometh up to the walls, if the Nile 
comcth not up to the fields, if the heaven hath stood still, 
if the earth hath boen moved, if there be any famine, if 
any pestilence, * The Christians to the lions ' is forthwith 

" Men of a desperate, lawless, reckless faction," says the 
heathen C&cilius, in the passage above referred to, " who 
collect together out of the lowest rabble the thoughtless 
portion, and credulous women seduced by the weakness of 
their sex, and form a mob of impure conspirators, of whom 
nocturnal assemblies, and solemn fastings, and unnatural 
food, no sacred rite but pollution, is the bond. A tribe 
lurking and light-haling, dumb for the public, talkative in 
corners, they despise our temples as if graves, spit at our 
owls, deride our religious forms ; pitiable themselves, they 
pity,' forsooth, our priests ; half-nuked themselves, they 
despise our honours and purple; monstrous folly and 
incredible impudence ! . . . Day after day, their aban- 
doned morals wind their serpentine course ; over the whole 
"world arc those most hideous rites of an impious association 
growing into shape : . . . they recognize each other by 
murks and signs, and love each other almost before they 
recognize ; promiseuoun liwt is their religion. Thus does 
their vain and mad superstition glory in crimes. . ; The 
writer who tolls the story of a criminal capitally punished, 
and of the gibbet (ligna fmtlw) of the cross being their 
* Apol. i. 3, 39, Oxf. tr. 


observance (cerefnonias) , assigns to them thereby an altar 
in keeping with the abandoned and wicked, that they may 
worship (colant) what they merit. . . . Why their mighty 
effort to hide and shroud whatever it is they worship 
(colunf), since things honest ever like the open day, and 
crimes are secret ? "Why have they no altars, no temples, 
no images known to us, never speak abroad, never assemble 
freely, were it not that what they worship and suppress is 
subject either of punishment or of shame ? . . What 
monstrous, what portentous notions do they fabricate ! 
that that God of theirs, whom they can neither show nor 
see, should be inquiring diligently into the characters, the 
acts, nay the words and secret thoughts of all men; 
running to and fro, forsooth, and present everywhere, 
troublesome, restless, nay impudently curious they would 
have him; that is, if he is close at every deed, 
interferes in all places, while he can neither attend to 
each as being distracted through the whole, nor suffice for 
the whole as being engaged about each. Think too of 
their threatening fire, meditating destruction to the whole 
earth, nay the world itself with its stars ! . . . Nor content 
with this mad opinion, they add and append their old 
wives' tales about a new birth after death, ashes and cinders, 
and by some strange confidence believe each other's lies. 
Poor creatures ! consider what hangs over you after death, 
while you are still alive. Lo, the greater part of you, the 
better, as you say, are in want, cold, toil, hunger, and 
your God suffers it ; but I on it common trials. Lo, threats 
are offered to you, punishments, torments ; crosses to be 
undergone now, not worshipped (adorandca) ; fires too 
which ye predict and fear ; where is % that God who can 
recover, but cannot preserve your life ? The answer of 
Socrates, when he was asked about heavenly matters, is 
well known, * What is above us does not concern us/ My 
opinion also is, that points which are doubtful, as are the 


points in question, must bo left ; nor, when so many and 
suet, great men are in controversy on the subject, must 
judgment be rashly and audaciously given on either side, 
lest the consequencs bo either anile superstition or the 
overthrow of all religion." 


Such was Christianity in the eyes of those who witnessed 
its rise and propagation ; one of a number of wild and 
barbarous rites which wore pouring in upon the Empire 
from the ancient realms of superstition, and the mother of a 
progeny of sects which were faithful to the original they 
had derived from Egypt or Syria ; a religion unworthy 
of an educated person, as appealing, not to the intellect, but 
to the fears and weaknesses of human nature, and consisting, 
not in the rational and cheerful enjoyment, but in a morose 
rejection of the gifts of Providence ; a horrible religion, as 
inflicting or enjoining cruel sufferings, and monstrous and 
loathsome in its very indulgence of the passions ; a 
religion loading by reaction to infidelity; a religion of 
magic, and of the vulgar arts, real and pretended, with 
which rnagic was accompanied; a secret religion which 
dared not lace the day ; an itinerant, busy, proselytizing 
religion, forming an extended confederacy against the 
state, resisting its authority and breaking its laws. There 
in ay bo some exceptions to this general impression, such as 
Pliny's discovery of the innocent and virtuous rule of life 
adopted by the Christians of Pontus ; but this only proves 
that Christianity was not in fact the infamous religion which 
the heathen thought it ; it did not reverse their general 
belief to that effect, 


Now it must be granted that, in some respects, this view 
of Christianity depended on the times, and would alter with 
their alteration. When there was no persecution, Mar- 


tyrs could not be obstinate ; and when the Church was 
raised aloft in high places, it was no longer in caves. 
Still, I believe, it continued substantially the same in the 
judgment of the world external to it, while there was an 
external world to judge of it. " They thought it enough/' 
says Julian in the fourth century, of our Lord and His 
Apostles, "to deceive women, servants, and slaves, and by 
their means wives and husbands." " A human fabrication," 
says he elsewhere, " put together by wickedness, having 
nothing divine in it, but making a perverted use of the 
fable-loving, childish, irrational part of the soul, *and 
offering a set of wonders to create belief/' " Miserable 
men, v he says elsewhere, "you refuse to worship the 
ancile, yet you worship the wood of the cross, and sign it 
on your foreheads, and fix it on your doors. Shall one for 
this hate the intelligent among you, or pity the less 
understanding, who in following you have gone to such an 
excess of perdition as to leave the everlasting gods and go 
over to a dead Jew ? " He speaks of their adding other 
dead men to Him who died so long ago. "You have 
filled all places with sepulchres and monuments, though 
it is nowhere told you in your religion to haunt the tombs 
and to attend upon them/' Elsewhere he speaks of their 
" leaving the gods for corpses and relics/* On the other 
hand, he attributes the growth of Christianity to its 
humanity towards strangers, care in burying the dead, 
and pretended religiousness of life. In another place he 
speaks of their care of the poor. 5 

Libanius, Julian's preceptor in rhetoric, delivers the 
same testimony, as far as it goes. He addressed his Oration 
for the Temples to a Christian Emperor, and would in 
consequence be guarded in his language ; however it runs 
in one direction. He speaks of "those black-habited 

Julian ap. Cyril, pp. 39, 194 206, 335. Epp. pp. 305, 429, 438, ei 



men," meaning the monks, " who eat more than elephants, 
and by the number of their potations trouble those who 
send them drink in their chantings, and conceal this by 
paleness artificially acquired." They " are in good con- 
dition out of the misfortunes of others, while they pretend 
to serve God by hunger." Those whom they attack " are 
like bees, they like drones." I do not quote this passage 
to prove that there were monks in Libanius's days, which 
no one doubts, but to show his impression of Christianity, 
as far as his works betray it. 

Numantian, in the same century, describes in verse his 
voyage from Rome to Gaul: one book of the poem is 
extant ; he falls in with Christianity on two of the islands 
which lie in his course. He thus describes them as found on 
one of these : " The island is in a squalid state, being full 
of light-hators. They call themselves monks, because they 
wish to live alone without witness. They dread the gifts, 
from fearing the reverses, of fortune. Thus Homer says 
that melancholy was the cause of Bellerophon's anxiety ; 
for it is said that after the wounds of grief mankind dis- 
pleased tho offended youth." Ho meets on the other 
island a Christian, whom ho had known, of good family 
and fortune, and happy in his marriage, who " impelled 
by tho Furies had left men and gods, and, credulous 
exile, was living in base concealment. Is not this herd/' 
he continues, "worse than Circoan poison? then bodies 
were changed, now minds/* 


In the riiilopatriK, which is the work of an Author of 
tho fourth century/ Critius is introduced pale and wild. 
His friend a&ks him if ho has scon Cerberus or Hecate; 
and ho answers that he has heard a rigmarole from cer- 
tain " thrice-cursed sophists;" which ho thinks would 
* KL'bulir ascribes it to the beginning of the tenth. 


drive liim mad, if he heard it again, and was nearly 
sending him headlong over some cliff as it was. He 
retires for relief with his inquirer to a pleasant place, 
shadowed by planes, where swallows and nightingales are 
singing, and a quiet brook is purling. Triephon, his 
friend, expresses a fear lest he has heard some incanta- 
tion, and is led by the course of the dialogue, before his 
friend tells his tale, to give some account of Christianity, 
being himself a Christian. After speaking of tL.3 crea- 
tion, as described by Moses, he falls at once upon that 
doctrine of a particular providence which is so dis- 
tasteful to Plutarch, Velleius in Cicero, and CoBcilius, and 
generally to unbelievers. " He is in heaven," he says, 
" looking at just and unjust, and causing actions to be 
entered in books ; and He will recompense all on a day 
which He has appointed." Critias objects that he cannot 
make this consistent with the received doctrine about the 
Fates, "even though he has perhaps been carried aloft 
with his master, and initiated in unspeakable mysteries." 
He also asks if the deeds of the Scythians are written in 
heaven ; for if so, there must be many scribes there. 
After some more words, in course of which, as in the 
earlier part of the dialogue, the doctrine of the Holy 
Trinity is introduced, Critias gives an account of what 
befell him. He says, he fell in with a crowd in the streets ; 
and, while asking a friend the cause of it, others joined 
them (Christians or monks), and a conversation ensues, 
part of it corrupt or obscure, on the subject, as Gesner 
supposes, of Julian's oppression of the Christians, especially 
of the clergy. One of these interlocutors is a wretched 
old man, whose " phlegm is paler than death ;" another 
has "a rotten cloke on, and no covering on head or feet," 
who says ho has been told by some ill-clad person from 
the mountains, with a shorn crown, that in the theatre 
was a name hieroglyphically written of one who would 

B 2 

214 THE CHURCH OF [CH. 71. 

flood the highway with gold. On his laughing at the 
story, his friend Crato, whom he had joined, bids him he 
silent, using a Pythagorean word; for he has "most 
excellent matters to initiate him into, and that the predic- 
tion is no dream but true/' and will be fulfilled in August, 
using the Egyptian name of the month. He attempts to 
leave them in disgust, but Orato pulls him back "at the 
instigation of that old demon." lie is in consequence 
persuaded to go "to those conjurers/' who, says Crato, 
would " initiate in all mysteries." He finds, in a building 
which is described in the language used by Homer of the 
Palace of Menclaus, " not Helen, no, but men pale and 
downcast," who ask, whether there was any bad news; 
"for they seemed/' he says, "wishing the worst; and 
rejoicing in misfortune, as the Furies iu the theatres." 
On their asking him how the city and the world went on, 
and his answering that things went on smoothly and 
scorned likely to do so still, they frown, and say that "the 
city is in travail with a bad birth." "You, who dwell 
aloft," ho answers, "and seo everything from on high, 
doubtless have a keen perception in this mutter ; but tell 
me, how is the sky ? will the Sun be eclipsed ? will Mars 
be in quadrature with Jupiter? &c.;" and ho goes on to 
jest upon their celibacy. On their persisting in prophesy- 
ing evil to the state, ho sayR, "This evil will fall on your 
own head, since you are so hard upon your country ; for 
not as high-flyers have yo heard this, nor are ye adepts 
In the restless astrological art, but if divinations and con- 
jurings havo seduced you, double is your stupidity ; for 
they arc the discoveries of old women and things to laugh 
at." The interview then draws to an end; but more 
than enough has been quoted already to show the 
author's notion of Christianity, 



Such, was the language of paganism after Christianity 
had for fifty years been exposed to the public gaze ; after 
It had been before the world for fifty more, St. Augustine 
had still to defend it against the charge of being the 
cause of the calamities of the Empire. And for the charge 
of magic, when the Arian bishops were in formal dis- 
putations with the Catholic, before Grungebald, Burgundi^n 
King of France, at the end of the fifth century, we find still 
that they charged the Catholics with being " prmtiyiaiores" 
and worshipping a number of gods ; and when the Catholics 
proposed that the king sbk uld repair to the shrine of St. 
Justus, where both parties might ask him concerning 
their respective faiths', the Arians cried out that "they 
would not seek enchantments like Saul, for Scripture was 
enough for them, which was more powerful than all be- 
witchments." 7 This was said, not against strangers of 
whom they knew nothing, as Ethelbert might be sus- 
picious of St. Augustine and his brother missionaries, but 
against a body of men who lived among them. 

I do not think it can be doubted then that, had Tacitus, 
Suetonius, and Pliny, Celsus, Prophyry, and the other 
opponents of Christianity, lived in the fourth century, their 
evidence concerning Christianity would be very much the 
same as it has come down to us from the centuries before it. 
In either case, a man of the world and a philosopher would 
have been disgustedat thegloomandsadnessof its profession, 
its mysteriousness, its claim of miracles, the want of good 
sense imputable to its rule of life, and the unsettlementancl 
discord it was introducing into the social and political world. 

On the whole then I conclude as follows : if there is a 

1 Sirm. Opp. ii. p. 225, ed. Ven* 

246* THE cnuncH OF [en. \ r j- 

form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of 
gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from 
the heath en, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an 
occult virtue ; a religion which is considered to burden 
and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself 
to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by 
sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and 
exalt mere irrational faith ; a religion which impresses 
on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt 
and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the 
day, one by one, their definite value for praise or blame, 
and thus casts a grave shadow over the future; a re- 
ligion which holds up to admiration tho surrender of 
wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if 
they would ; a religion, the doctrines of which, "be they 
good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; 
which is considered to boar on its very surface wigus of 
folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to 
judge of it, and that careful examination in preposterous; 
which is felt to bo so simply bad, that it may bo 
calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing 
but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution 
of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to do- , 
tcrminc how fur this or that ntory concerning it 
is literally true, or what has to bo allowed in candour, or 
what is improbable, or what cuts two ways, or what is not 
proved, or what may bo plausibly dot ended ; a religion 
such, that men look tit a convert to it with a feeling 
which no other denomination raises oxcopt Judaism* 
Socialism, or Mormonism, viz. with curiosity, suspicion, 
fear, disgust, as tho ouso may be, UN if something strange 
had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a 
mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful 
influences, as if ho were now ono of u wmfoderaoy which 
claimed him, absorbed law, stripped him of his personality, 


reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole ; 
a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti-social, 
revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, 
corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock 
at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, 
and a "conspirator against its rights and privileges;" 8 
a religion which they consider the champion and instru- 
ment of darkness, and a pollution calling down upon the 
land the anger of heaven; a religion which they asso- 
ciate with intrigue and conspiracy, which they speak 
about in whispers, which they detect by anticipation in 
whatever goes wrong, and to which they impute what- 
ever is unaccountable ; a religion, the very name of 
which they cast out as evil, and use simply as a bad 
epithet, and which from the impulse of self-preservation 
they would persecute if they could ; if there be such a 
religion now in the world, it is not unlike Christianity as 
that same world viewed it, when first it came forth from 
its Divine Arthor. 9 

* Proph. Office, p. 132 [Via Media, vol. i. p. 109]. 

9 [Since the publication of tins volume in 1845, a writer in a Conserva- 
tive periodical of great name has considered ( that no happier designation 
could be bestowed upon us than that which heathen statesmen gave to the 
first Christians, " enemies of the human race.'* What a remarkable witness 
to our identity with the Church of St. Paul ("a pestilent fellow, and a mover 
of sedition throughout the world "), of St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and the 
other Martyrs ! In this matter, Conservative politicians join with Liberals, 
and with the movement parties in Great Britain, Prance, Germany, and Italy, 
JHQ their view of our religion. 

"The Catholics," says the Quarterly Rewew for January, 1873, pp. 
181-2, " wherever they are numerous and powerful in a Protestant nation, 
compel (sic) as it were by a law of their being, that nation to treat them 
with stern repression and control. . . . Catholicism, if it be true to itself, 
and its mission, ca&not (sic) . . . wherever and whenever the opportunity is 
afforded it, abstain from claiming, working for, and grasping that supremacy 
nnd paramount influence and control, which it conscientiously believes to be 
its inalienable and universal due. ... By the force of circumstances, by 
the Inexorable logic of its claims, it must be the intestine foe or the disturb** 

248 TEE CHURCH OF [cH. 71. 



Till the Imperial Government had become Christian, and 
heresies were pat dovvn by the arm of power, the face of 
Christen do in presented much the same appearance all along 
as on the first propagation of the religion- What Gnos- 
ticism, Montanisin, Judaism and, I may add, the Oriental 
mysteries were to the nascent Church, as described in the 
foregoing Section, such were the Manichcan, Donatist, 
Apollinarian and contemporary sects afterwards* The 
Church in each place looked at first sight as but one out 
of a number of religious communions, with little of a 
very distinctive character except to the careful inquirer. 
Still there wore external indications of ewsenjiul differences 
within 5 and, as we have already compared it in the first 
centuries, we may now contrast it in the fourth, with the 
rival religious -bodies with which it was encompassed. 


TTow was the man to guide his eo'urse wlio "wished to 
join himself to the doctrine and fellowship of the Apostles 
in the times of St. Athanasius, St. Basil, and St. Augustine? 
Few indeed were the districts in the orlk twrarum t which 
did not then, as in the Antc-iiiceno era, present a number 
of creeds and communions for his choice. Gaul indeed is 
suid at that era to have boon perfectly free from heresies ; 
at least none are mentioned as belonging to that country 
in the Theoclosiun Code. But in Egypt, in the early part 
of the fourth century, the llelotian schism numbered one- 

ing element of every Btato in which it flws not hear sway j nn<I * * * it must 
now stand out in the estimate of all Protestants, Patriots and Thinkers** 
(philosophers and historians, as Tacitus?) "as the fa*lh huma ni generU 
(sic), &e."3 


third as many bishops as were contained in the whole Patri- 
archate* In Africa, towards the end of it, while the Catholic 
Bishops amounted in all to 4G6, the Donatists rivalled 
them with as many as 4'JO. In Spain Prisjillianism was 
spread from the Pyrenees to the Ocean. It seems to have 
been the religion of the population in the province of 
Gallicia, while its author Priseillian, whose death had 
been contrived by the Ithuci ins, was honoured as a Martyr. 
The Manichees, hiding- themselves under a variety of 
names in different localities, were not in the least flourish- 
ing condition at Rome. Rome and Italy were the seat of 
the Marcionites* The Origonists, too, are mentioned by 
St. Jerome as "bringing a carj^o of blasphemies into the 
port of Rom*." And Rome was the seat of a Novatian, a 
Donatist, and a Luciferian bishop, in addition to the legi- 
timate occupant of the Sv j e of St. Peter. The Luciferians, 
as was natural under the circumstances of their schism, 
were sprinkled over Christendom from Spain to Palestine, 
and from Treves to Lxbia; while in its parent country 
Sardinia, as a centre of that extended range, Lucifer seems 
to have received the hoiumi s of a Saint. 

When St. Gregory Nazianxeu began to preach at 
Const an tinople^ the Ai inns were in possession of its hundred 
churches; they had the populice in their favour, and, 
after their legal dislotlgmont, edict after edict was 
ineffectually issued against them. The Novaiians too 
abounded there ; and the SubbaMuns, who had separated 
from them, had a church, where they prayed at the tomb 
of their founder* Moreover, Apollinanans, Eunomians, 
and Serni-arians, mustered in great numbers at Constanti- 
nople. The Semi-arian bi-hops were as popular in the 
neighbouring pi evinces, as the Arian doctrine in the 
capital. They had possession of the const of the Hellespont 
and Bithynia ; and were i'omid in Phrygia, Isauria, and 
the neighbouring parts of Asia Minor. Phrygia was the 

250 THE CHURCH OF [CE. 71* 

headquarters of the Montanists, and was overrun by tho 
Messalians, who had advanced thus far from Mesopotamia, 
spreading through Syria, Lycnouia, Pamphylia, and 
Cappadocia in their way. In the lesser Armenia, the 
same heretics had penetrated into the monasteries. 
Phrygia, too, and Paphlagouia were the seat of the 
Novatians, who besides were in force at Nicoca and 
Nicomedia, were found in Alexandria, Africa, mid Spain, 
and had a bishop even in Scytliia. The whole tract of 
country from the Hellespont to Cilicia had nearly lapsed 
into Eunomianism, and tho tract from Cilicia as far as 
Phoenicia into Apollinariamsm. The disorders of tho 
Church of Antioeh are well known : an Arian Hiicccssion, 
two orthodox claimants, and a bishop of the A pollinarians. 
Palestine abounded in Origciiists, if at that time they may 
properly be called a sect ; Palestine, Egypt, uutl Arabia 
were overrun with Marcionites; Osrhoeue was occupied 
by the followers of Bardesanos and Jhirmonius, whose 
hymns so nearly took the place of national tunes that 
Hi. Ephrcm found no bettor way of resisting tho heresy 
than setting them to fresh words. Thoodorot in Coma- 
gene speaks in the next century of reclaiming eight 
villages of Murciouites, ono of Eunomiuns, and ono of 


These sects were of very various character. Learning, 
eloquence, and talent wore the chunicteriwticd of tho Apolli- 
nuriiins, Manichees, and Pelagians; Ticliouius the Dona- 
tist was distinguished in Biblical interpretation; tho 
Semi-arian and Apollinurian loaders were men of grave 
and correct behaviour ; tho Novatiaas had sided with tho 
Orthodox during tho Arian persecution ; the Montanists 
and Messalians addressed themselves to an almost heathen 
population ; the atrocious fanaticism of tho PriscilliauistSj 


the fury of the Aiian women of Alexandria and Constan- 
tinople, and the savage cruelty of the Circumcellions can 
hardly be exaggerated. These various sectaries had their 
orders of clergy, bishops, priests and deacons; their 
readers and ministers ; their celebrants and altars ; their 
hymns and litanies. They preached to the crowds in 
public, and their meeting-houses bore the semblance of 
churches. They had their sacristies and cemeteries ; their 
farms; their professors and doctors; their schools. 
Miracles were ascribed to the Arian Theophilus, to the 
Luciferian Gregory of Elvira, to a Macedonian in Cyzicus, 
and to the Donatists in Afiica. 


How was an individual inquirer to find, or a private 
Christian to keep the Truth, amid so many rival teachers ? 
The misfortunes or perils of holy men and saints show us 
the difficulty ; St. Augustine was nine years a Maiiichee ; 
St. Basil for a time was in admiration of the Semi-arians ; 
St. Sulpicius gave a momentary countenance to the 
Pelagians ; St. Paula listened, and Melunia assented, to 
the Origenists. Yet the rule was simple, which would 
direct every one right ; and in that age, at least, no one 
could be wrong for any long time without his own fault. 
The Church is everywhere, but it is one; sects are every- 
where, but they are many, independent and discordant. 
Catholicity is \h.3 attribute of the Church, independency of 
sectaries. It is true that some sects might seem almost 
Catholic in their diffusion ; Novatians or Marcionites were 
in all quarters of the empire ; yet it is hardly more than 
the name, or the general doctrine or philosophy, that was 
universal : the different portions which professed it seem 
to have been bound together by no strict or definite tie. 
The Church might be evanescent or lost for a while in 
particular countries, or it might be levelled and buried 


among sects, when the eye was confined to one spot, or it 
might be confronted by the one and same heresy in various 
places; but, on looking round the orbis terrarum, there 
was no mistaking that body which, and which alone, had 
possession of it. The Church is a kingdom ; a heresy is a 
family rather than a kingdom j and as a family continually 
divides and sends out branches, founding now houses, and 
propagating itself in colonies, each of them as independent 
as its original head, so was it with heresy. Simon Magus, 
the first heretic, had boon Patriarch of Menandriuns, 
Basilidians, Valentinians, and the whole family of 
Gnostics; Tatiau of Kncratitcs, Sovorians, Aquarians* 
Apotactitcs, and Saocophori. The Montanists had been 
propagated into Tuscodrugites, Pepuzians, Artotyrites, and 
Quartodecirrums* Eutychcs, in a later time, gave birth to 
the Dioscorians, Gaianites, Theodosians, Agnoetoo, Theo- 
paschites, Acophali, Semidalitru, Nagrunito}, Jacobites, and 
others. This is the uniform history of heresy- The 
patronage of the civil power might for a time counteract 
the law of its nature, but it showed it as soon as that 
obstacle was removed. fVuveuly was Arianism deprived 
of the churches of Constantinople, and loft to itself, than 
it split in that very city into tho Borothcans, the 
P&athyrians, and the Curiums; and the Kunomians into 
the Theoplmmians and Kutychiuns. One fourth part of 
the Donatists speedily became Maxinriniaiiiats ; and 
besides these were the Tlogatiuns, the Priimanists> the 
TJrbanists, and the Cluudiunists. II such was the fecundity 
of the heretical principle in one place, it is not to be 
supposed that Novatiuns or Marcionites in Africa or tho 
East would fuel themselves bound to think or to act with 
their fellow-sectaries of Homo or Constantinople ; and tho 
great varieties or inconsistencies of statement, which have 
como down to us concerning the tenets of heresies, may 
thus be explained. This had been the ease with tho pagan 


rites, whether indigenous or itinerant, to which heresy 
succeeded. The established priesthoods were local pro- 
perties, as independent theologically as they were geogra- 
phically of each other; the fanatical companies which 
spread over the Empire dissolved and formed again as the 
circumstances of the moment occasioned. So was it with 
heresy : it was, by its very nature, its own master, free to 
change, self-sufficient; and, having thrown off the yoke 
of the Church, it was little likely to submit to any usurped 
and spurious authority. Montanism and Manicheeism 
might perhaps in some sort furnish an exception to this 


In one point alone the heresies seem universally to 
have agreed, in hatred to the Church. This might at 
that time be considered one of her surest and most obvious 
Notes. She was that body of which all sects, however 
divided among themselves, spoke ill; according to the 
prophecy, " If they have called the Master of the house 
Beelzebub^ how much more them of His household." They 
disliked and they feared her ; they did their utmost 1o 
overcome their mutual differences, in order to unite 
against her. Their utmost indeed was little, for inde- 
pendency was the law of their being ; they could not 
exert themselves without fresh quarrels, both in the bosom 
of each, and one with another. " Bellum hcereticorum pace 
est ecdcsice " had become a proverb ; but they felt the 
great desirableness of union against the only body which 
was the natural antagonist of all, and various are the in- 
stances which occur in ecclesiastical history of attempted 
coalitions. The Meletians of Africa united with the 
Arians against St. Athanasius; the Semi-Arians of the 
Council of Sardica corresponded with the Donatists of 
Africa ; Nestorius received and protected the Pelagians ; 

234 THE CHURCH OF [OH. vn 

Aspar, tlie Arian. minister of Leo tlie Emperor, favoured 
the Monophysites of Egypt ; the Jacobites of Egypt sided 
with the Moslem, who are charged with holding a Nestorian 
doctrine. It had been so from the beginning: "They 
huddle up a peace with all everywhere," says Tortullian, 
" for it inaketh no matter to them, although they hold 
different doctrines, so long as they conspire together in 
their siege against the one thing, Truth." 1 And oven 
though active co-operation was impracticable, at least 
hard words cost nothing, and could express that common 
hatred at all seasons. Accordingly, by Montanists, 
Catholics wore called "the carnal;" by Novatians, "the 
apostates;" by Valcntimans, "the worldly;" byManichees, 
*'the simple;" by Acrians, " tho ancient;*' 2 by 
Apollinariuns, "tho man-worshippers;" by Origenists, 
" the flesh-lovers," and " the slimy j" by tho NestorianR, 
*' Egyptians ;" by Monophy^tcfl, tho " Chalcedouians :" 
by JDonatiBts, "the traitors/' and "the sinners/' and 
''servants of Antichrist;" and St. Fetor's chair, "the 
Heut of pestilence ;** and by tho LnciiVriuns, the Church 
was culled "a brothel/' "the clevil'H harlot/' and 
" Rynagogue of Satan :" so that it might bo called a Note of 
the Church, as I have said, for the use of tlio most busy and 
the most ignorant, that she was on one bide and all other 
bodies on tlie other. 


Tot, strinigo as it may appear, there was one title of the 
Church of a very different nature from those which have 
been enumerated, a title of honour, which all men agreed 
to give her, and one which furnihcd a si ill more simple 
direction than such epithets of abuse to aid the busy and 
the ignorant in finding her, and which was used by tlie 

Ilrar. 41, Ox tr. 


Fathers for that purpose. It was one which the sects 
could neither claim for themselves, nor hinder being 
enjoyed by its rightful owner, though, since it was the 
characteristic designation of the Church in the Creed, it 
seemed to surrender the whole controversy between the 
two parties engaged in it. Balaam could not keep from 
blessing the ancient people of God ; and the whole world, 
heresies inclusive, were irresistibly constrained to call 
God's second election by its prophetical title of the 
" Catholic " Church, St. Paul tells us that the heretic is 
" condemned by himself;" and no clearer witness against 
the sects of the earlier centuries was needed by the Church, 
than their own testimony to this contrast between her 
actual position and their own. Sects, say the Fathers, are 
called after the name of their founders, or from their locality, 
or from their doctrine. So was it from the beginning : fe I 
am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas ;" but it 
was promised to the Church that she should have no mas- 
ter upon, earth, and that she should " gather together in 
one the children of God that were scattered abroad." 
Her every- day name, which was understood in the market- 
place and used in the palace, which every chance comer 
knew, and which state-edicts recognized, was the " Catho- 
lic" Church. This was that very description of Chris- 
tianity in those times which wo are all along engaged in 
determining. And it had been, recognized as such from 
the first ; the name or the fact is put forth by St. Ignatius, 
St. Justin, St. Clement ; by the Church of Smyrna, St. 
Irensous, Rhodon or another, Tertullian, Origen, St. 
Cyprian, St. Cornelius ; by the Martyrs, Pionius, Sabina, 
and Asclepiades ; by Lactantius, Eusebius, Adimantius, St. 
Athanasius, St. Pacian, St. Optatus, St. Epiphanius, St. 
Cyril, St. Basil, St. Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, 
St. Augustine, and Facundus. St. Clement uses it as an 
argument against the Gnostics, St. Augustine against the 


Donatists and IJanichees, Sfc. Jerome against the Luci- 
ferians, and St. Paciaa against the Novatians. 


It was an argument for educated and simple. When 
St. Ambrose would convert the cultivated reason of 
Augustine, he bade him study the book of Isaiah, who is 
the prophet, as of the Messiah, so of the calling of the 
Gentiles and of the Imperial power of the Church. And 
when St. Cyril would give a rule to his crowd of 
Catechumens, "If ever thou art sojourning in any city," 
he says, fc inquire not simply where tho Lord's house is, 
(for the sects of the profane also make an atlompt to call 
their own dens houses of the Lord,) nor merely where the 
Church is, but where is the Catholic Ohurelx. For this is 
the peculiar name of this Holy Uocly, the Mother of us all, 
which is the Spouse of our Lord JOHUB Christ/' 3 * e In the 
Catholic Church/' says St. Augustine to the Manichees, 
" not to speak of that most puro wisdom, to the knowledge 
of which few spiritual men attain in this life so m to know 
it even in its least measure, as inon, indood, yet, without 
any doubt, (for the multitude of Christians are safest, not 
in understanding with quickness, but in believing with 
simplicity,) not to speak of this wisdom, which ye do not 
believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many 
other considerations which most Buflieiontly hold me in her 
bosom. I am held by the consent of people and nations ; 
by that authority which begun in miracles, was nourished 
111 hope, was increased by charity, and made steadfast by 
age ; by that succession of priests from the chair of tho 
Apostle Peter, to whose feeding the Lord after His 
resurrection commended HIM sheep, oven to the present 
episcopate ; lastly, by tho very title of Catholic, which, 
not without cause, hath this Church alone, amid so many 

Cat, xviii. 26, 


heresies, obtained in such sort, that, whereas all heretics 
wish to be called Catholics, nevertheless to any stranger, 
who aked where to find the 'Catholic' Church, none of 
them would dare to point to his own "basilica or home. These 
dearest bonds, then, of the Christian Name, so many and 
such, rightly hold a man in belief in the Catholic Church, 
even though, by reason of the slowness of our understand- 
ing or our deserts, truth doth not yet show herself in her 
clearest tokens. But among you, who have none of these 
reasons to invite and detain me, I hear but the loud sound 
of a promise of the truth ; which truth, verily, if it be 
so manifestly dibplayed among you that there can be no 
mistake about it, is to be preferred to all those things by 
which I am held in the Catholic Church; but if it 
is promised alone, and not exhibited, no one shall move 
me from that faith which by so many and great ties binds 
my mind to the Christian religion/' * When Adimantius 
asked his Marcionite opponent, how he was a Christian 
who* did not even bear that name, but was called from 
Marcion, he retorts, "And you are called from the 
Catholic Church, therefore ye are not Christians either ;" 
Adimantius answers, "Did we profess man's name, you 
would have spoken to the point ; but if we are called from 
being all over the world, what is there bad in this ? " 5 


" Whereas there is one God and one Lord," says St. 
Clement, "therefore also that which is the highest in esteem 
is praised on the score of being sole, as after the pattern 
of the One Principle. In the nature then of the One, the 
Church, which is one, hath its portion, which they would 
forcibly cut up into many heresies. In substance then, and 
in idea, and in first principle, and in pre-eminence, we call 
the ancient Catholic Church sole ; in order to the unity of 
* Contr. Ep. Manich. 5. * Origen, Opp. t. 5. p. 809, 



one faith, the faith according to her own covenants, or 
rather that one covenant in different times, which, by the 
will of one God and through one Lord, is gathering 
together those who are already ordained, whom God hath 
predestined, having known, that they would be just from the 

foundation of the world But of heresies, some are 

called from a man's name, as Yalentine's heresy, Marcion's, 
and that of Basilides (though they profess to bring the opi- 
nion of Matthias, for all the Apostles had, as one teaching, 
so one tradition) ; and others from place, as the Peratici ; 
and others from nation, as that of the Phrygians ; and others 
from their actions, as that of the Encratites ; and others 
from their peculiar doctrines, as the Ducetco and Hematites ; 
and others from their hypotheses, and what they have 
honoured, as Cainites and the Ophites ; and others from 
their wicked conduct and enormities, as those Siraonians 
who are called Eutychites." G " There are, and there have 
been/' says St. Justin, " many who have taught atheistic 
and blasphemous words and deeds, coming in the name of 
Jesus; and they are called by us from the appellation of 
the men whence each doctrine and opinion began . . . Some 
are called Marciuiw, others Valentinians, others Basilidians, 
others Satumilians." 7 " When men are called Phrygians, 
or Novatians, or Yalentinians, or Marcionites, or Anthro- 
pians," says Lactantius, " or by any other name, they 
cease to be Christians ; for they have lost Christ's Name, 
and clothe themselves in human and foreign titles. It is 
the Catholic Church alone which retains the true worship." 8 
"We never heard of Petrines, or Paulines, or Bar- 
tholoxaeons, or Thaddoans," says St. Epiphanius; "but 
from the first there was one preaching of all the Apostles, 
not preaching themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. 
Wherefore also all gave one name to the Church, not 
their own, but that of their Lord Jesus Christ, since they 
* Strom, vii. 17. 7 c. Tryph. 33. 8 lustit 4 30, 


began to be called Christians first at Antioch ; which is 
the Sole Catholic Church , having nought else but Christ's, 
being a Church of Christians ; not of Christs, but of 
Christians, He being One, they from that One being called 
Christians. None, but this Church and her preachers, are of 
this character, as is shown by their own epithets, Manicheans, 
and Simonians, and Valentinians, and Ebionites." 9 "If 
YOU ever hear those who are said to belong to Christ," 
says St. Jerome, "named, not from the Lord Jesus 
Christ, but from some other, say Marcionites, Valentinians, 
Mountaineers, Campestrians, know that it is not Christ's 
Church, but the synagogue of Antichrist/' 1 


St. Pacian's letters to the Novatian Bishop Sympronian ' 
require a more extended notice. The latter had required 
the Catholic faith to be proved to him, without distinctly 
stating from what portion of it he dissented; and he 
boasted that he had never found any one to convince 
him of its truth. St. Pacian observes that there is one 
point which Sympronian cannot dispute, and which settles 
the question, the very name Catholic. He then supposes 
Sympronian to object that, " under the Apostles no one 
was called Catholic." He answers, " Be it thus ; a it shall 
have been so ; allow even that. When, after the Apostles, 
heresies had burst forth, and were striving under Various 
names to tear piecemeal and divide f the Dove' and 'the 
Queen * of God, did not the Apostolic people require a name 
of their own, whereby to mark the unity of the people that 
was uncorrupted, lest the error of some should rend limb 
by limb * the undefiled virgin ' of God ? Was it not seemly 
that the chief head should be distinguished by its own 
peculiar appellation? Suppose this .very day I entered a 

Ha>r. 42, p. 366. l In Lucif . fin. 

2 The Oxford translation is used. 

s 2 


populous city. "When' I had found Marcionites, Apolli- 
narians, Cataphrygians, Novatians, and others of the 
kind, who call themselves Christians, by what name 
should I recognize the congregation of my own people, 
unless it were named Catholic? . . . . Whence was it 
delivered to me ? Certainly that which has stood through 
so many ages was not borrowed from man. This name 
' Catholic ' sounds not of Marcion, nor of Apelles, nor of 
Montanus, nor does it toko heretics for its authors/' 

In his second letter, he continues, " Certainly that was 
no accessory name which endured through so many ages. 
And, indeed, I am glad for thce, that, although thou 
mayest have preferred others, yet thou agrcest that the 
name attaches to us, which should you deny nature 
would cry out But and if you still have doubts, let us 
hold our peace. We will both be that which we shall be 
named." After alluding to Symproniun's remark that, 
though Cyprian was holy, "his people bear the name of 
Apostaticum, Capitolinum, or Synedrium," which wore 
tjome of tho Novatian titles of the Church, St. Pacian 
replies, fe Ask a century, brother, and all its years in suc- 
cession, whether this name has adhered to us ; whether 
tho people of Cyprian have been called other than Catholic? 
No one of these names have I over heard/' It followed 
that such appellations were " taunts, not names," and there- 
fore unmannerly. On the other hand it seems that Sym- 
proniaa did not like to bo called a Novatian, though ho 
could not call himself a Catholic. " Tell me yourselves/ 7 
says St. Pacian, " what yc arc called. Do ye deny that 
tho Novatians are called from Novutian ? Impose on them 
whatever name you like; that will ever adhere to them. 
Search, if you please, whole aunals, and trust so many 
ages. You will answer, c Christian/ Uut if I inquire the 
genus of the sect, you will not deny that it is Uovatian. 
. . . Confess it without deceit; there is no wickedness in 


the name. Why, when so often inquired for, do you hide 
yourself ? Why ashamed of the origin of your name ? 
"When you first wrote, I thought you a Cataphrygian. . . . 
Dost thou grudge me my name, and yet shun thine own? 
Think what there is of shame in a cause wliich shrinks 
from its own name." 

In a third letter : " ' The Church is the Body of Christ/ 
Truly, the body, not a member ; the body composed of 
many parts and members knit in one, as saith the Apos- 
tle, ' For the Body is not one member, but many.* 
Therefore, the Church is the full body, compacted and 
diffused now throughout the whole world; like a city, I 
mean, all whose parts are united, not as ye are, O Ifova- 
tians, some small and insolent portion, and a mere swelling 
that has gathered and separated from the rest of the body. 
. . . Great is the progeny of the Virgin, and without 
number her offspring, wherewith the whole world is filled, 
wherewith the populous swarms ever throng the circum- 
fluous hive/' And he founds this characteristic of the 
Church upon the prophecies : " At length, brother Sym- 
proman, be not ashamed to be with the many ; at length 
consent to despise these festering spots of the Novatians, 
and these parings of yours ; and at length to look upon the 
flocks of the Catholics, and the people of the Church 
extending so far and wide. . . . Hear what David saith, 
*I will sing unto Thy name in the great congregation;' 
and again, I will praise Thee among much people;* and 
* the Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken, and 
called the world from the rising up of the sun unto the 
going down thereof.' What ! shall the seed of Abraham, 
which is as the stars and the sand on the seashore for num- 
ber, be contented with your poverty ? . . . Recognize now, 
brother, the Church of God extending her tabernacles and 
fixing the stakes of her curtains on the right and on the 
left; understand that 'the Lord's name is praised 


from the rising up of the sun unto the going down 


In citing these passages, I am not proving what was 
the doctrine of the Fathers concerning the Church in those 
early times, or what were the promises made to it in 
Scripture ; but simply ascertaining what, in matter of 
fact, was its then condition relatively to the various Chris- 
tian bodies among which it was found. That the Fathers 
were able to put forward a certain doctrine, that they 
were able to appeal to the prophecies, proves that matter 
of fact ; for unless the Church., and the Church alone, had 
been one body everywhere, they could not have argued on 
the supposition that it was so. And so as to the word 
" Catholic *" it is enough that the Church was so called; 
that title was a confirmatory proof aud symbol of what is 
even otherwise so plain, that she, as St. Pncian explains the 
word, was everywhere one, while the sects of the day were 
nowhere one, but everywhere divided* Sects might, 
indeed, be everywhere, but they were in no two places the 
same ; every spot had its own independent communion, or 
at least to this result they were inevitably and continually 


St. Pacian wriics in Spain : the same contrast between 
the Church and sectarianism is presented to us in Africa 
in the instance of the Donatists; and St. Optatus is a 
witness both to the fact, and to its notoriety, and to the 
deep impressions which it made on all parties. Whether 
or not the Don aiti fits identified themselves with the true 
Church, and cut off the rest of Christendom* from it, is not 
the question here, nor alters the fact which I wish dis- 
tinctly brought out and recognised, that in those ancient 


times the Church was that Body which was spread over 
the orlis terra rum, and sects were those bodies which were 
local or transitory. 

" What is that one Church/' says St. Optatus, " which 
Christ calls 'Dove' and 'Spouse'? . . . It cannot he in 
the multitude of heretics and schismatics. If so, it follows 
that it is but in one place. Thou, brother Parmenian, hast 
. said that it is with you alone ; unless, perhaps, you aim at 
claiming for yourselves a special sanctity from your pride, 
so that where you will, there the Church may be, and may 
not be, where you will not. Must it then be in a small 
portion of Africa, in the corner of a small realm, among 
you, but not among us in another part of Africa ? And 
not in Spain, in Gaul, in Italy, where you are not ? And 
if you will have it only among you, not in the three 
Pannonian provinces, in Dacia, Moosia, Thrace, Achaia, 
Macedonia, and in all Greece, where you are not ? And 
that you may keep it among yourselves, not in Pontus, 
Galatia, Cappadocia, Pamphylia, Phrygia, Cilicia, in the 
three Syrias, in the two Armenias, in all Egypt, and in 
Mesopotamia, where you are not h M~ot among such 
innumerable islands and the other provinces, scarcely 
numerable, where you are not ? What will become then 
of the meaning of the word Catholic, which is given to the 
Church, as being according to reason 8 and diffused every 
where ? For if thus at your pleasure you narrow the Church, 
if you withdraw from her all the nations, where will be the 
earnings of the Son of God P where will be that which the 
Father hath so amply accorded to Him, saying in the 
second Psalm 'I will give thee the heathen for Thine inheri- 
tance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy posses- 
sion/ &c. ? . . The whole earth is given Him with the na- 
tions ; its whole circuit (orlis) is Christ's one possession." * 

3 EationaMUs ; apparently an allusion to the civil officer called Catho- 
lieus or Rationalis, receiver-general. 4 Ad. Farm. ii. 



An African writer contemporary with St. Augustine, if 
not St. Augustine himself, enumerates the small portions 
of the Donatists Sect, in and out of Africa, and asks if 
they can be imagined to be the fulfilment of the Scripture 
promise to the Church. "If the holy Scriptures have 
assigned the Church to Africa alone, or to the scanty 
Cutzupitans or Mountaineers of Rome, or to the house or 
patrimony of one Spanish woman, however the argument 
may stand from other writings, then none but the Donatists 
haye possession of the Church. If holy Scripture 
determines it to the few Moors of the Cooaarean province, 
we must go over to the Rogatists : if to the few Tripoli- 
tans or Byzacenes and Provincials, the Muximianists have 
attained to it ; if in the Orientals only, it is to be sought 
for among Arians, Eunomians, Macedonians, and others 
that may bo there; for who can enumerate every heresy 
of every nation? But if Christ's Church, by 1he divine 
and most certain testimonies of Canonical Scriptures, is 
assigned to all nations, whatever may bo adduced, and 
from whatever quarter cited, by those who say, * Lo, here 
is Christ and lo there/ let us rather hear, if we bo ITis 
sheep, the voice of our Shepherd saying unto us, *Do not 
believe.' For they are not each found in tho many nations 
where she is ; but she, who is everywhere, is found where 
they are/' 6 

Lastly, let us hear St. Augustine himself again in the 
same controversy: "They do 'not communicate with us, 
as you say," he observes to Cresconius, "Novatians, 
Arians, Patripasaians, Valentininn, Patricians, Apellites, 
Marcionites, Ophites, and the rest of those sacrilegious 
names, as you call thorn, of nefarious pests rather than 
sects. Yet, wheresoever they are, there is the Catholic 

* Do Unit. EecleH. 6. 


Church ; as in Africa it is where you are. On the other 
hand, neither you, nor any one of those heresies whatever, 
is to be found wherever is the Catholic Church. "Whence 
it appears, which is that tree whose boughs extend over all 
the earth by the richness of its fruitfulness, and which be 
those broken branches which have not the life of the root, 
but lie and wither, each in its own place."" 6 


It may be possibly suggested that this universality which 
the Fathers ascribe to the Catholic Church lay in its Apos- 
tolical descent, or again in its Episcopacy -, and that it was 
one, not as being one kingdom or civitas te at unity with 
itself," with one and the same intelligence in every part, one 
sympathy, one ruling principle, one organization, one 
communion, but because, though consisting of a number 
of, independent communities, at variance (if so be) with 
each other even to a breach of communion, nevertheless 
all these were possessed of a legitimate succession of clergy, 
or all governed by Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. But 
who will in seriousness maintain that relationship, or that 
sameness of structure, makes two bodies one ? England 
and Prussia are both of them monarchies ; are they there- 
fore one kingdom ? England and the United States are 
from one stock ; can they therefore be called one state ? 
England and Ireland are peopled by different races; yet avo 
they not one kingdom still ? If unity lies in the Apostolical 
succession, an act of schism is from the nature of the case- 
impossible ; for as no one can rever-e his parentage, so no 
Church can undo the fact that its clergy have come by 
lineal descent from the Apostles. Either there is no such 
sin as schism, or unity does not lie in the Episcopal form 
or in the Episcopal ordination. And this is felt by the 
controversialists of this day; who in consequence are 

6 Contr. Crcsc. iv. 75 ; also iii, 77. 


obliged to invent a sin, and to consider, not division of 
Church from Church, but the interference of Church with 
Church to be the sin of schism, us if local dioceses and 
bishops with restraint were more than ecclesiastical 
arrangements and by-laws of the Church, however sacred, 
while schism is a sin against her essence. Thus they 
strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. Division is the 
schism, if schism there be, not interference. If interfer- 
ence is a sin, division which is the cause of it is a greater; 
but where division is a duty, there can be no sin in inter- 


Far different from such a theory is the picture which 
the ancient Church presents to us ; true, it was governed 
by Bishops, and those Bishops came from the Apostles, 
but it was a kingdom besides ; and as a kingdom adrnita 
of the possibility of rebels, so does such a Church involve 
sectaries and schismatics, but not independent portions. 
It was a vast organised association, co-extensivo with the 
Koman Empire, or rather overflowing it. Its Bishops 
were not rnero local officers, but possessed a quasi-ecumeni- 
cal power, extending wherever a Chrintian was to be 
found. "No Christian/' nays Bingham, " would pretend 
to travel without taking letters of credence with him 
from his OWUL bishop, if he meant to communicate with 
the Christian Church in a foreign country. Such was the 
admirable unity of the Church Catholic in those days, and 
the blessed harmony and consent of her bishops among 
one another." 7 St. Gregory Na$dan#on calls St. Cyprian 
an universal Bishop, " presiding/* as the same author 
presently quotes Gregory, "not only over the Church of 
Carthage and Africa, but over all the regions of the West, 
and over the Bast,, and South, and Northern parts of the 

7 Aix%. n. 4, 5. 


world also" This is evidence of a unity throughout Chris- 
tendom, not of mere origin or of Apostolical succession, but of 
government. Brngham continues " [Gregory] says the same 
of Athanasius ; that, in being made Bishop of Alexandria, he 
was made Bishop of the whole world. Chrysostom, in like 

manner, styles Timothy, Bishop of the universe 

The great Athanasius, as he returned from his exile, made 
no scruple to ordain in several cities as he went along, 
though they were not in his own diocese. And the 
famous Eusehius of Samotata did the like, in the times of 
the Arian persecution under Valens. . . Epiphanius made 
use of the same power and privilege in a like case, 
ordaining Pauliniaims, St. Jerome's brother, first deacon 
and then presbyter, in a monastery out of his own diocese 
in Palestine." 8 And so in respect of teaching, before 
Councils met on any large scale, St. Ignatius of Antioch 
had addressed letters to the Churches along the coast of 
Asia Minor, when on his way to martyrdom at Home. St. 
Irensous, when a subject of the Church of Smyrna, 
betakes himself to Gaul, and answers in Lyons the heresies 
of Syria. The see of St. Hippolytus, as if he belonged to 
all parts of the orlis torrarum, cannot be located, and is 
variously placed in the neighbourhood of Home and in 
Arabia. Hosius, a Spanish Bishop, arbitrates in an 
Alexandrian controversy. St. Athanasius, driven from 
his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Treves 
to Ethiopia, and introduces into the "West the discipline 
of the Egyptian Antony. St. Jerome is born in Dalmatia, 
studies at Constantinople and Alexandria, is secretary to 
St. Damasus at Rome, and settles and dies in Palestine. 

8 Antiq. 5, 3. [Bingham apparently in this passage is indirectly reply- 
ing lo the Catholic argument for the Pope's Supremacy drawn from the 
titles and acts ascribed to him in antiquity; but that argument is cumula- 
tive in character, being part of a whole body of proof ; and there is more- 
over a great difference bet ween a rhetorical discourse and a synodal enuncia- 
tion as at Chalcedon.] 


Above all the See of Rome itself is the centre of teaching 
as well as of action, is visited by Fathers and heretics as a 
tribunal in controversy, and by ancient custom sends her 
alms to the poor Christians of all Churches, to Achaia 
and Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt, and Cappadocia. 


Moreover, this universal Church was not only one ; it 
was exclusive also. As to the vehemence with which Chris- 
tians of the Ante-nicene period denounced the idolatries 
and sins of paganism, and proclaimed the judgments which 
would be their consequence, this is well known, and led to 
their being reputed in the heathen world as " enemies of 
mankind/' " Worthily doth God exert the lash of His 
stripes and scourges," says St. Cyprian to a heathen 
magistrate; "and since they avail so little, and convert 
not- men to God by all this drcadfulncss of havoc, there 
abides beyond the prison eternal and the ceaseless flamo 
and the everlasting penalty. . . . Why humble your self and 
bend to false gods P Why bow your captive body before 
helpless images and moulded earth ? Why grovol in the 
prostration of death, like the serpent whom ye worship? 
Why rush into the down lull of the devil, his fall the cause 
of yours, and he your companion? .... Believe and live ; 
you have been our persecutors in time; in eternity, be 
companions of our joy/'' 9 " These rigid sentiments," says 
Gibbon, "which had boon unknown to the ancient world, 
appear to have infused a spirit of bitterness into a system 
of love and harmony." * Such, however, WUH the judgment 
passed by the first Christians upon all who did not join 
their own society ; and such still more was the judgment 
of their successors on those who lived and died iu the sects 
and heresies which had issued from it. That very Father, 
whose denunciation of the heathen has just been quoted, 
Ad Demctr. 4, <fcc. Oxf. Tr. x Hist. cli. xv. 


had already declared it even in the third century. " He 
who leaves the Church of Christ/' he says, " attains not to 
Christ's rewards. He is an alien, an outcast, an enemy. 
He can no longer have God for a Father, who has not the 
Church for a Mother. If any man was able to escape who 
remained without the Ark of Noah, then will that man 
escape who is out of doors beyond the Church. . . What 
sacrifice do they believe they celebrate, who are rivals o 
the Priests ? If such men were even killed for confession 
of the Christian name, not even by their blood is this stain 
washed out. Inexplicable and hdavy is the sin of discord, 
and is purged by no suffering . . . They cannot dwell with 
God who have refused to be of one mind in God's Church ; 
a man of such sort may indeed be killed, crowned he 
cannot be." 2 And so again St. .Chrysostom, in the follow- 
ing century, in harmony with St. Cyprian's sentiment : 
" Though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet 
shall we, if we cut to pieces the fulness of the Church, 
suffer punishment no less sore than they who mangled His 
body. 3 ' 8 In like manner St. Augustine seems to consider 
that a conversion from idolatry to a schismatical communion 
is no gain. " Those whom Donatists baptize, they heal of 
the wound of idolatry or infidelity, but inflict a more 
grievous stroke in the wound of schism; for idolaters 
among God's people the sword destroyed, but schismatics 
the gaping earth devoured." 4 Elsewhere, he speaks of 
the "sacrilege of schisrn,which surpasses all wickednesses/" 
St. Optatus, too, marvels at the Donatist Parmenian's 
inconsistency in maintaining the true doctrine, thut 
" Schismatics are cut off as branches from the vine, are 
destined for punishments, and reserved, as dry wood, for 
hell-fire." 6 "Let us hate them who are worthy of 
hatred," says St. Cyril, " withdraw we from those whom 

* De Unit, 5, 12. 8 Chrys. in Eph. iv. 4 Be Baptism, i. 10. 
6 c. Ep. Farm. i. 7. * Do Schism. Donat. i. 10. 


God withdraws from ; lot us also say unto God with all 
boldness concerning all heretics, ' Do not I hate them, 
Lord, that hate thee ? ' " 7 " Most firmly hold, and douht 
in no wise/' says St. Fulgentius, " that every heretic and 
schismatic soever, baptized in the name of Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, unless aggregated to the Catholic Church, 
how great soever have been his alms, though for Christ's 
Name he lias even shed .his blood, can in no wise be 
saved." 8 The Fathers ground this doctrine on St. Paul's 
words that, though we have knowledge, and give our goods 
to the poor, and our body to bo burned, we are nothing 
without love. 


One more remark shall be made : that the Catholic 
teachers, far from recognizing any ecclesiastical relation 
as existing between the Sectarian Bishops and Priests and 
their people, address the latter immediately, as if those 
JJishops did not exist, and call on them to come over to 
the Church individually without respect to anyone besides; 
and that because it is a matter of life and death. To tyke 
the instance of the Donatists : it wus nothing to the purpose 
that their Churches in Africa were nearly as numerous as 
those of the Catholics, or that they had a case to produce 
in their controversy with the Catholic Church ; the. very 
fact that they were separated from the orbix iorrarwn was 

7 Cat. xvi, 10. 8 DC Fid, ad Pefcr. 39. [82.] 

* [Of eoui'HG thin solemn truth must not bo taken apart from the words 
r>f the present Pope, Pius IX. concerning invincible ignorance : " Notnm 
nobis vobisque est, COH, qui invincibili circa sanctmsimam nostrum reli^ioncm 
ignorantia. lubonmt, quique naturulcm logem pjusque prsucopta in omnium 
cordibus a Deo insculpta sedulo scrvnntcR, ac Deo obocliro p,miti, honestam 
roctamqiiG vitam agunt, posse, divinto lucis ct gratia) opcnmte virtute, 
fletcrnam conscqui vitam, eftm Deus, qui omnium numtoH, auimos, cogita- 
tiones, habitusqtio piano intuctnr, scrutatur et uoscit, pro aummo- sufi. 
bonitate ot dementia, mininio patiatur <|uempiam tuteruiw pimiri suppliciis, 
qui voluntarioo cnlpse roatum uou htibcat. M ] 


a public, a' manifest, a simple, a sufficient argument against 
them. " The question is not about your gold and silver/' 
says St. Augustine to Glorius and others, "not your 
lands, or farms, nor even your bodily health is in peril, but 
we address your souls about obtaining eternal life and 

fleeing eternal death. Rouse yourself therefore 

You see it all, and know it, and groan over it ; yet God 
sees that there is nothing to detain you in so pestiferous 
and sacrilegious a separation, if you will but overcome your 
carnal affection, for the obtaining the spiritual kingdom, and 
rid yourselves of the fear of wounding friendships, which 
will avail nothing in God's judgment for escaping eternal 
punishment. Go, think over the matter, consider what - 
can be said in answer. . . . No one blots out from heaven 
the Ordinance of God, no one blots out from earth the 
Church of God : He hath promised her, she hath filled, the 
whole world." " Some carnal intimacies," he says to his 
kinsman Severinus, " hold you where you are. . . . "What 
avails temporal health or relationship, if with it we neglect 
Christ's eternal heritage and our perpetual health ? " "I 
ask/' he says to Celer, a person of influence, " that you 
would more earnestly urge upon your men Catholic Unity 
in the region of Hippo." " Why," he says, in the person 
of the Church, to the whole Donatist population, tf Why 
open your ears to the words of men, who say what they 
never have been able to prove, and close them to the word 
of God, saying, c Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the 
heathen for Thine inheritance *?" At another time he 
says to them, " Some of the presbyters of your party have 
sent to 'us to say, ' Retire from our flocks, unless you would 
have us kill you/ How much more justly do we say to 
them, ' Nay, do you, not retire from, but come in peace, not 
to our flocks, but to the flocks of Him whose we are all ; or 
if you will not, and are fur from peace, then do you 
rather retire from flocks, for which Christ shed His 


Blood/ " " I call on you for Christ's sake/' he says to a 
late pro-consul, " to write me an answer, and to urge 
gently and kindly all your people in the district of Sinis 
or Hippo into the communion of the Catholic Church." 
He publishes an address to the Donatists at another time to 
inform them of the defeat of their Bishops in a conference : 
" "Whoso," he says, "is separated from the Catholic Church, 
however laudably he thinks ho is living, by this crime 
alone, that he is separated from Christ's Unity, he shall 
not have life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. 1 " 
"Lot them believe of the Catholic Church/' he writes to 
some converts about their friends who were still in schism, 
"that is, to the Church diffused over the whole world, rather 
what the Scriptures say of it than what human tongues 
utter in calumny." The idea of acting upon the Donatists 
only as a body and through their bishops, does not appear 
to have occurred to St. Augustine at all. 1 


On the whole, then, wo have reason to say, that if there 
be a form of Christianity at this day distinguished for its 
careful organisation, and its consequent power; if it is 
spread over the world ; if it is conspicuous for zealous 
maintenanccof its own creed ; if it is intolerant towards what 
it considers error; if it is engaged in ccuscloss war with 
all other bodies called Christian ; if it, aud it alone, is 
called <e Catholic" by the world, nay, by those very 
bodies, and if it makes much of the title ; if it names them 
heretics, and warns them of coming woe, and calls on them 
one by one, to eoiuc over to itself, overlooking every other 
tie ; and if they, on the other hand, call it seducer, harlot, 
apostate, Antichrist, devil; if, however much they differ 
one with another, they consider it their common enemy; if 
they strive to unite together against- it, and cannot; if they 
* Epp. 43, 53, 57, 76, 103, 112, 111, H<1. 


are but local ; if they continually subdivide, and it remains 
one; if they fall one after another, and make way for new- 
sects, and it remains the same ; such a religious commu- 
nion is not unlike historical Christianity, as it comes before 
us at the Nicene Era. 



The patronage extended by the first Christian Emperors 
to Arianisni, its adoption by the barbarians who succeeded 
to their power, the subsequent expulsion of all heresy 
beyond the limits of the Empire, and then again the 
Monophysite tendencies of Egypt and part of Syria, 
changed in some measure the- aspect of the Church, and 
claim our further attention. It was still a body in posses- 
sion, or approximating to the possession, of the orlis 
termrum ; but it was not simply intermixed with sectaries, 
as we have been surveying it in the earlier periods, rather 
it lay between or over against large schisms. That same 
vast Association, which, and which only, had existed from, 
the first, which had been identified by all parties with Chris- 
tianity, which had been ever called Catholic by people and 
by laws, took a different shape ; collected itself in far 
greater strength on some points of her extended territory 
than on others; possessed whole kingdoms with scarcely a 
rival ; lost others partially or wholly, temporarily or for 
good ; was stemmed in its course here or there by external 
obstacles ; and was defied by heresy, in a substantive 
shape and in mass, from foreign lands, and with the sup- 
port of the temporal power. Thus not to mention the 
Arianism of the Eastern Empire in the fourth century, the 
whole of the West was possessed by the same heresy in 


274 THE CHURCH 01? [CH. VI. 

the fifth ; and nearly the whole of Asia, east of the 
Euphrates, as far as it was Christian, by the Nestorians, in 
the centuries which followed; while the Monophysites had 
almost the possession of Egypt, and at times of the whole 
Eastern Church. I think it no assumption to call Arian- 
ism, Nestorianism, and Eutychianism heresies, or to 
identify the contemporary Catholic Church with Chris- 
tianity. Now, then, let us consider the mutual relation of 
Christianity and heresy under these circumstances. 

]. The Arifins of the OolJtic Hacc. 

No heresy has started with greater violence or more 
sudden success than the Ariau ; and it presents a still more 
remarkable exhibition of those characteristics among the 
barbarians tlum in the civilized world. Even among tlio 
Greeks it had shown u missionary spirit. Theophilus in 
tlioroign of Gonstantiushadintroduced Ihedominuut heresy, 
not without some promising* results, to the Sabeans of the 
Arabian peninsula; but under Valons, Ulphilas became 
the apostle of a whole race. He taught the Ariau doc- 
trine, which he had unhappily learned in tho Imperial 
Court, first to the pastoral Moasogoths ; who, unlike tho 
other branches of their family, had multiplied under the 
Mousiun mountains with neither military nor religious 
triumphs. Tho Visigoths wore next corrupted; by whom 
does not appear. It is one of the singular traits in tho 
history of this vast family of heathens that they so in- 
stinctively caught, aad so impetuously communicated, and 
so fiercely maintained, a heresy, which had excited in the 
Empire, except at Constantinople, little interest in tho 
body of the people. The Visigoths are said to have been 
converted by the influence of Valens ; but Valeria reigned 
for only fourteen years, and the barbarian population 
which had boon admitted to the Empire amounted to 


nearly a million of persons. It is as difficult to trace how 
the heresy was conveyed from them to the other barharian 
tribes. Gibbon seems to suppose that the Visigoths acted 
the part of missionaries in their career of predatory war- 
fare from Thrace to the Pyrenees. But such is the fact, 
however it was brought about, that the success in arms 
and the conversion to Arianism, of Ostrogoths, Alani, 
Suevi, Vandals, and Burgundians stand as concurrent 
events in the history 'of the times ; and by the end of the 
fifth century the heresy had been established by the 
Visigoths in France and Spain, in Portugal by the Suevi, 
in Africa by the Vandals, and by the Ostrogoths in Italy. 
For a while the title of Catholic as applied to the Church 
seemed a misnomer ; for not only was she buried beneath 
these populations of heresy, but that heresy was one, and 
maintained the same distinctive tenet, whether at Carthage, 
Seville, Toulouse, or Eavenna. 


It cannot be supposed that these northern warriors had " 
attained to any high degree of mental cultivation; but 
they understood their own religion enough to hate the 
Catholics, and their bishops were learned enough to hold 
disputations for its propagation. They professed to stand 
upon the faith of Ariminum, administering Baptism under 
an altered form of words, and re- baptizing Catholics 
whom they gained over to their sect. It must be added 
that, whatever was their cruelty or tyranny, both Goths 
and Vandals were a moral people, and put to shame the 
Catholics whom they dispossessed. " What can the pre- 
rogative of a religious name profit us/* says Salvian, 
" that we call ourselves Catholic, boast of being the faith- 
.ful, taunt Goths and Vandals with the reproach of an 
heretical appellation, while we live in heretical wicked- 

T 2 


ness ? " 2 The barbarians were chaste, temperate, just, and 
devout; the Visigoth Theodoric repaired every morning 
with his domestic officers to his chapel, where service was 
performed by the Arian priests ; and one singular instance 
is on record of the defeat of a Visigoth force by tho 
Imperial troops on a Sunday, when instead of prepar> % 
for battle they were engaged in the religious services of 
the day. 3 Many of their princes were men of great ability, 
as the two Theodoricsj Euric and Leovigild. 


Successful warriors, animated by a fanatical spirit of re- 
ligion, were not likely to be content with a mere profession 
of their own creed; they proceeded to place their own 
priests in tho religious establishments which they found, 
and to direct a bitter persecution against tho vanquished 
Catholics, Tho savage cruelties of tho Vandal Hunnerio 
in Africa have often been enlarged upon ; Spain was the 
scene of repeated persecutions; Sicily, too, had its 
Martyrs. Compared with these enormities, it was but a 
little thing to rob the Catholics of their churches, and 
the shrines of their treasures. Lands, immunities, and 
jurisdictions, which had been given by tho Emperors to 

a Do Gubern. Dei, vii. p. 14-2. Elnowhere, "Apud Aquitanieos qu 
civitas in locuplctissimS ac nobilissim& sni parte non quasi lupanar fuifc ? 
Qnis potentmu ae divitum non in luto Ubidinis vixiti Hand multum 
matrona abest & vilitate sorvarum, ubi paterfamilias aucillarum. maritns 
ot? Quis ftutem Aquitanorum divitum non hocfuit?" (pp. 134, 135.) 
*' Oflbnduutur barbari ipsi imparilatilms noslris. Ksso inter Gothos non 
licet scortatorem Gothum ; soli inter cos prajudioio nationis ac uominis 
pcrinittuntur impuri esse llomani " (p. 137). **Quid? Uihptmiaii nouno 
vol cadoia vel nuijora forsitnn vitia perdidcrunt? . . , Accensit hoc ad 
inanifeslundam illic impudicitite damnationem, ut Wandalis potisshnum, id 
<st, pudicis barburis tradercmtur " (p. 137). Of Africa and Carthage, " In 
tirbe Christian^,, in wrbo ecclesiastic^, . . . viri in semefcipais fcminas pro- 
fttobantur/' &c. (p. 152). 

9 Dunham, Hist. Spain, vol* i. p. 112. 


the African Church, were made over to the clergy of its 
conquerors ; and by the time of Belisarius, the Catholic 
Bishops had been reduced to less than a third of their 
original number. In Spain, as in Africa, bishops were 
driven from their sees, churches were destroyed, cemeteries 
profaned, martyries rifled. When it was possible, the 
Catholics concealed the relics in caves, keeping up a per- 
petual memory of these provisional hiding-places. 4 Re- 
peated spoliations were exercised upon the property of the 
Church. Lcovigild applied 5 its treasures partly to increas- 
ing the splendour of his throne, partly to national works. At 
other times, the Arian clergy themselves must have been 
the recipients of the plunder : for when Childebert the 
Frank had been brought into Spain by the cruelties exer- 
cised against the Catholic Queen of the Goths, who was 
his sister, he carried away with him from the Ariaa 
churches, as St. Gregory of Tours informs us, sixty 
chalices, fifteen patens, twenty cases in which the gospels 
were kept, all of pure gold and ornamented with jewels. 6 


In France, and especially in Italy, the rule of the here- 
tical power was much less oppressive; Theodoric, the 
Ostrogoth, reigned from the Alps to Sicily, and till the 
close of a long reign he gave an ample toleration to his 
Catholic subjects. He respected their property, suffered 
their churches and sacred places to remain in their hands, 
and had about his court some of their eminent Bishops, 
since known as Saints, St. Csesarius of Aries, and St. 
Epiphanius of Puvia. Still he brought into the country 
a new population, devoted to Arianism, or, as we now 
^peak, a new Church. "His march," says Gibbon, 7 
"must be considered as the emigration of an eniire 
4 Asuirr. Concil. t. 2, p. 191. 5 Bunlmm, p. 125. 

6 Hist. Franc, iii, 10. 7 Ch ' 39 " 

278 THE CHURCH OF [ca. vi. 

people ; the wives and children of the Goths, their aged 
parents, and most precious effects, were carefully trans- 
ported; and some idea may bo formed of the heavy 
luggage that now folio wed 'the camp by the loss of two 
thousand waggons, which had been sustained in* a single 
action in the war of Epirus." To his soldiers ho assigned 
a third of the soil of Italy, and the barbarian families 
settled down with their sluves and cattle. The original 
number of the Vandal conquerors of Africa had only 
been fifty thousand men, but the military colonists of 
Italy soon amounted to the number of two hundred 
thousand; which, according to tlio calculation adopted 
by the same author elsewhere, involves a population of a 
million. The least that could bo expected was, that an 
Arian ascendency established through the extent of Italy 
would provide for the sufficient celebration of the Aritin 
worship, and wo hear of the Ariaus having a Church, 
even in Hume. 8 The rule of the Lombards* iu the north 
of Italy succeeded to that of the Goths, Ariaus, like 
their predecessors, without their toleration. The clergy 
whom they brought with them HOCIU to have claimed 
their share iu the possession of the Catholic churches ; 
and though the Court was converted at the end of thirty 
years, many cities in Italy were for some time afterwards 
troubled by the presence of heretical bishops. 1 The rule 
of Ariunisin in France lasted for eighty years ; in Spaiu 
for a hundred and eighty ; iu Africa for a hundred ; for 
about a hundred in Italy. These periods were not. con- 
temporaneous ; but extend altogether from the beginning 
of the fifth to the end of the sixth century. 


It will be anticipated that the duration of this ascon- 

8 Grog. Dial. iii. 30. D Ibid. 20. 

1 Gibbon, Hist. clx. 37. 


dency of error had not the faintest tendency to deprive the 
ancient Church of the West of the title of Catholic; and 
it is needless to produce evidence of a fact which is on the 
very face of the history. The Arians seem never to have 
claimed the Catholic name. It is more remarkable that 
the Catholics during this period were denoted by the 
additional title o " Romans." Of this there are many 
proofs in the histories of St. Gregory of Tours, Victor of 
Vite, and the Spanish Councils. Thus, St. Gregory speaks 
of Theodegisilus, a king of Portugal, expressing his incre- 
dulity at a miracle, by saying, " It is the temper of the 
Romans, (for/' interposes the author, " they call men of 
our religion Romans,) and not the power of God," 3 
** Heresy is everywhere an enemy to Catholics/' says the 
same St. Gregory in a subsequent place, and he proceeds to 
illustrate it by the story of a " Catholic woman/' who had 
a heretic husband, to whom, he says, came " a presbyter of 
our religion very Catholic ;" and whom the husband 
matched at table with his own Arian presbyter, " that 
there might be the priests of each religion " iu their house 
at once. When they were eating, the husband said to the 
Arian, " Lot us have some sport with, this presbyter of the 
Romans." 3 The Arian. Count Gomachar, seized on the 
lands of the Church of Agde in France, and was attacked 
with a fever; on his recovery, at the prayers of the 
Bishop, he repented of having asked for them, observ- 
ing, '"What will these Romans say now? ihab my fever 
came of taking their land." 4 When the Vandal Theo- 
doric would have killed the Catholic Armogastes, after 
failing to torture him into heresy, his presbyter dis- 
suaded him, " lest the Romans should begin to call him a 
Martyr/' 5 

* Do Glor. Mart L 25. 8 Ibid. 80. 4 Ibid 79. 

* Viet. Vit i. 14. 



This appellation had two meanings ; one> which will 
readily suggest itself, is its use in contrast to the word 
"barbarian," as denoting the faith of the Empire, as 
" Greek" occurs in St. Paul's Epistles. In this sense it 
would more naturally be used by the Romans themselves 
than by others. Thus Salvian says, that " nearly all tho 
Romans are greater sinners than the barbarians \" and he 
speaks of " Roman heretics, of which thore is an innume- 
rable multitude/ 9 7 meaning heretics within the Empire. 
And so St. Gregory the Great com plain s, that ho " had 
become Bishop of the Lombards rather than of the 
Romans/' 8 And Evagrius, speaking even of the East, 
contrasts " Romans and barbarians " 9 in his account of 
St. Simeon ; and at a later duto,and even to this day, Thrace 
and portions of Dacia and of Asia Minor derive their name 
from Rome. In like manner, we find Syrian writers some- 
times speaking of the religion of tho Romans, sometimes 
of the Greeks/ as synonymes. 


But the word certainly contains also an allusion to tho 
faith and communion of the Roumn See. In this sense 
the Fniperor Thoodosius, in his letter to Aoaeius of 
Beroea, contrasts it with Nestoriunism, which was within 
the Empire as well as Catholicism ; during the controversy 
raised by that heresy, ho exhorts him and others to show 
themselves " approved priests of the Roman religion/' a 
Again when the Ligurian nobles were persuading the 
Arian Ricimer to come to terms with Anthcmius, tho 
orthodox representative of tho Greek Emperor, 8 they 
propose to him to send St. Epiphunius as ambassador, a 

Do Gub D. iv. p, 73, ' Ibid. v. p, 88. Epp. 5. 31. 

Hist. vi. 23. * Cf. Assew. t. i. p. #51, not. 4, t. a, p. &)3* 

Ikvon. Aim, 432,47. , Gibbon, Hiat, clu U6. 


man " whose life is venerable to every Catholic and Roman, 
and at least amiable in the eyes of a Greek (Grceculus) if 
he deserves the sight of him/' 4 It must be recollected, too, 
that the Spanish and African Churches actually were in 
the closest union with the See of Rome at that time, and 
that that intercommunion was the visible ecclesiastical 
distinction between them and their Arian rivals. The 
chief ground of the Vandal Hunneric's persecution of the 
African Catholics seems to have been their connexion with 
their brethren beyond the sea/ which he looked at with 
jealousy, as introducing a foreign power into Ins territory. 
Prior to this he had published an edict calling on the " Ho- 
moiisian " Bishops (for on this occasion he did not call them 
Catholic), to meet his own bishops at Carthage and treat 
concerning the faith, that " their meetings to the seduction 
of Christian souls might not be held in the provinces of the 
Vandals/' 6 Upon this invitation, Eugenius of Carthage 
replied, that all the transmarine Bishops of the orthodox 
communion ought to be summoned, " in particular because 
it is a matter for the whole world, not special to the African 
provinces," that " they could not undertake a point of faith 
sine unwersitcttis OSSCHSU." Hunneric answered that if 
Eugenius would make him sovereign of the orlis fcrrarum, 
he would comply with his request. This led Eugenius to 
say that the orthodox, faith was "the only true faith;" 
that the king ought to write to his allies abroad, if he 
wished to know it, and that he himself would write to his 
brethren for foreign bishops, " who/* he says, " may assist 
us in setting before you the true faith, common to them 
and to us, and especially the Roman Church, which is the 
head of all Churches." Moreover, the African Bishops in 
their banishment in Sardinia, to the number of sixty, with 
St. Fulgontius at their head, quote with approbation the 

* Baron, Ann. 471, 18. 5 Viet. Vit. iv. 4. 

6 Viet, Vit. ii. 315. 

232 '"""flE CHURCH OF [CH. VI. 

words of Pope Ilormisdas, to the effect that they hold, " on 
the point of free will and divine grace, what the Roman, 
that is, the Catholic, Church follows and preserves." 7 
Again, the Spanish Church was under the superintendence 
of the Pope's Vicar 8 during the persecutions, whose duty 
it was to hinder all encroachments upon " the Apostolical 
decrees, or the limits of the Holy Fathers/' through the 
wholo of the country. 


Nor was tho association of Catholicism with the See of 
Home an introduction of that age. Tho Emperor Gratian, 
iu the fourth century, had ordered that the Churches 
which the Arians had -usurped should be restored (not to 
those who held " the Catholic faith/' or " tho Nicene 
Creed/' or were "in communion with the or?*!* twrnnnn") 
but " who chose the communion of ])unmsus/' the then 
Pope. It was St. Jerome's rule, also, in some well-known 
passages : Writing against lluffinus, who had spoken of 
" our faith/* he ways, a What docs he mean by e his faith * ? 
that which is the strength of the llotimii Ohurch ? or that 
which is contained in tho volumes of Origen P If ho 
answer, 'Tho Roman/ then we are Catholics who have 
borrowed nothing of ( )rigeu's error ; but if Origan's blas- 
phemy be his faith, then, while he is charging mo with 
inconsistency, he proves himself to bo an heretic/' l The 
other passage, already quoted, is still more exactly to the 
point, because it was written on occasion of a schism. The 
divisions at Antioch had thrown the Catholic Church 
into a remarkable position; there were two Bishops in tho 
See, one in connexion with the East, the other with 
Egypt and tho West, with which then was " Catholic 
Communion " P St. Jerome has no doubt on the subject : 

7 Aguirr. Cone. t. 2, p. 202. * Againr. ibid, p, 232. 

* Theod. HiBt. v. 2, * e. Huff, L <k 


Writing to Sfc. Damnsus, he says, "Since the East tears 
into pieces the Lord's coat, . . . therefore by me is the 
chair of Peter to be consuUer^and that faith which is 
praised by the Apostle's mouth. . \ . Though your great- 
ness terrifies me, yet your kindness invites me. From the 
Priest I ask the salvation of the victim, from the Shepherd 
the protection of the sheep. Let us speak without oifence ; 
I court not the Roman height: I speak with the suc- 
cessor of the Fisherman and the disciple of the Cross. I, 
who follow none as my chief but Christ, ana associated in 
communion with thy blessedness, that is, with the See of 
Peter. On that rock the Church is built, I know. "Whoso 
shall eat the Lamb outside that House is profane .... I 
know not Vitalis " (the Apollinarian), " Meletrus I reject, 
I am ignorant of Paulinus. Whoso gathereth not with 
thee, scattercth ; that is, he who is not of Christ is of 
Antichrist." 3 Again, " The ancient authority of the 
monks, dwelling round about, rises against ine ; I mean- 
while cry out, If any be joined to Peter's chair he is 
mine." 3 


Here was what may be considered a dignm wndice nodws, 
the Church being divided, and an arbiter wanted. Such 
a cane had also occurred in Africa in the controversy with 
the Donatists. Four hundred bishops, though but in one 
region, were a fifth part of the whole Episcopate of 
Christendom, and might seem too many for a schism, and 
in themselves too large a body to be cut off from God's 
inheritance by a more majority, even had it been over- 
whelming. St. Augustine, then, who so often appeals to 
the orlia terrarum, sometimes adopts a more prompt crite- 
rion, lie tells certain Donatists to whom he writes, that 
the Catholic Bishop of Carthage " was able to make lighf 

* Ep. 15. 8 Ep. 16. 


of the thronging multitude of his enemies, when he found 
himself by letters o* A credence joined both to the Roman 
Church, in which eve*" harl flourished the principality of 
the Apostolical See, and to the other lands whence the 
gospel came to Africa itself." 4 

There are good reasons then for explaining the Gothic 
and Arian use of the word ""Roman/' when applied to 
the Catholic Church and faith, of something beyond its 
mere connexion with the Empire, which the barbarians 
were assaulting; nor would " Itomau" surely be the mo^t 
obvious word to denote the orthodox failh, in the mouths 
of a people who had learned their heresy from a Roman 
Emperor and Court, and who professed to direct their 
belief by the great Latin Council of Ariminum. 


As then the fourth century presented to us in its ex- 
ternal aspect the Catholic Church lying in the midst of 
a multitude of sects, all enemies to it, so in the fifth and 
sixth we see tho same Church lying in the West under 
the oppression of a huge, farsprcading, and schiamatical 
communion. Heresy is no longer a domestic enemy inter- 
mingled with the Church, but it occupies its own ground 
and is extended over against her, oven though on the 
same territory, and is more or less organized, and cannot 
be so promptly refuted by the simple test of Catholicity. 

2. The Nestorirms. 

The Churches of Syria and Asia Minor were the most 
intellectual portion of early Christendom. Alexandria 
was but ono metropolis in a large region, and contained 
the philosophy of the whole Patriarchate ; but Syria 
abounded in wealthy and luxurious cities, tho creation of 
the Seloucidaa, where the arts and tho .schools of Greece 
* Aug. Kpp. 43. 7. 


had full opportunities of cultivation. For a time too, for 
the first two hundred years, as some think, Alexandria 
was the only See as well as the only school of Egypt; 
while Syria was divided into smaller dioceses, each of 
which had at first an authority of its own, and which, 
even after the growth of the Patriarchal power, received 
their respective bishops, not from the See of Antioch, but 
from their own metropolitan. In Syria too the schools 
were private, a circumstance which would tend both to 
diversity in religious opinion, and incaution in the expres- 
sion of it ; but the sole catechetical school of Egypt was the 
o'rgan of the Church, and its, Bishop could banish Origeii 
for speculations which developed and ripened with im- 
punity in Syria, 


But the immediate source of that fertility in heresy, 
which is the unhappiness of the ancient Syrian Church, 
was its celebrated Exegetical School. The history of that. 
School is summed up in the broad characteristic fact, on 
the one hand that it devoted itself to the literal and 
critical interpretation of Scripture, and on the other that it 
gave rise first to the Arian and then to the JJest^rian heresy. 
If additional evidence 'be wanted of the connexion of 
heterodoxy and biblical criticism in that age, it is found 
in the fact that, not long after this coincidence in Syria, 
they are found combined in the person of Theodore of 
Heracloa, so called from the place both of his birth and 
his bishoprick, an able commentator and an active enemy 
of St. Athanasius, though a Thracian unconnected except 
by sympathy with the Patriarchate of Antioch. 

The Antiochene School appears to have risen in the 
middle of the third century ; but there is no evidence to 
determine whether it was a local institution, or, as is more 
probable, a discipline or method characteristic generally of 

286 THE CHURCH OF [ CH . V I- 

Syrian teaching. Dorotheus is one of its earliest luminaries ; 
he is known as a Hebrew scholar, as well as a commenta- 
tor on the sacred text, and he was the master of Eusebius 
of CsQsarea. Lucian, the friend of the notorious Paul of 
Samosata, and for three successive Episcopates after him 
separated from the Church though afterwards a martyr in 
it, was the author of a new edition of the Septiia<nut f and 
master of the chief original teachers of Animism. Eusebius 
of Ccesarea, Astcrius called the Sophist, and Eusebius 
of Emesa, Arians of the Nicene period, and Dioclorus, a 
zealous opponent of Arianism, but the master of Theodore 
of Mopsuestia, have all a place in the Exegetical School. 
St. Chrysostom and Theodoret, both Syrians, and the 
former the pupil of Dioclorus, adopted the literal interpre- 
tation, though preserved from its abuse. But the princi- 
pal doctor of the School was that Theodore, the master of 
Nestorius, who has just above been mentioned, and who, with 
his writings, and with the writings of Thcodoret against St* 
Cyril, and the letter written by Ibus of Kdessa to Maris, 
\vas condemned by the fifth Ecumenical Council. Ibas 
vtis the translator into Syriao, and JMuris into Persian, 
of the books of Theodore and Diodorus ; '* and thun they 
became immediate instruments in the formation of the 
great Nestonan school and Church in farther Asia. 

As many as ten thousand tracts of Theodore are said in 
tliis way to have been introduced to tho knowledge of the 
Christians of Mesopotamia, Adiabene, Babylonia, and the 
neighbouring countries. He WUB called by those Churches 
absolutely " the Interpreter/' and it eventually became 
the very profession of the Nostoriun communion to follow 
him as HU<J!I. " The doctrine of all our Eastern Churches," 
says their Council under the Patriarch Mural ws, *'} founded 
on the Creed of Nicum; but in the expowition of the 
Scriptures we follow St. Theodore." " We muwt by all 

* Asscm. iii. p. 68. 


means remain firm to tlie commentaries of the great 
Commentator/' says the Council tinder Sabarjesus ; 
" whoso shall in any manner oppose them, or think other- 
wise, be he anathema." 6 No one since the beginning of 
Christianity, except Origen and St. Augustine, has had 
so great literary influence on his brethren as Theodore. 7 


The original Syrian School had possessed very marked 
characteristics, which it did not lose when it passed into a 
new country and into strange tongues. Its comments on 
Scripture seem to have been clear, natural, methodical, 
apposite, and logically exact. " In all Western Aramsea," 
says Lengerke, that is, in Syria, "there was but one 
mode of treating whether exegetics or doctrine, the prac- 
tical." 8 Thus Eusebius of Csesarea, whether as a dis- 
putant or a commentator, is commonly a writer of sense 
and judgment ; and he is to be referred to the Syrian 
school, though he does not enter so far into its temper as 
to exclude the mystical interpretation or to deny the 
verbal inspiration of Scripture. Again, we see in St. 
Chrysostom a direct, straightforward treatment of the 
sacred text, and a pointed application of it to things and 
persons; and Theodoret abounds in modes of thinking 
and reasoning which without any great impropriety may 
be called English. Again, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, though 
he does not abstain from allegory, shows the .character of 
his school by the great stress he lays upon the study of 
Scripture, and, I may add, by the peculiar characteristics 
of his style, which will be appreciated by a modern 


It would have been well, had the genius of the Syrian 

Ibid. t. 3, p. 84, note 3. 7 Wegnern, Proleg, in Theod. Opp. p. ix. 

8 De Ephrern Sjr. p. 61. 


theology been ever in the safe keeping of men such as St. 
Cyril, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret ; but in Theodore 
of Mopsuestia, nay in Diodorus before him, it developed 
into those errors, of which Paul of Samosata had been the 
omen on its rise. As its attention was chiefly directed to 
the examin ition of the Scriptures, in its interpretation of 
the Scriptures was its heretical temper discovered j and 
though allegory can be made an instrument for evading 
Scripture doctrine, criticism may more readily be turned 
to the destruction of doctrine and Scripture together. 
Theodore was bent on ascertaining the literal sense, an 
object with which no fimlt could be found: but, leading 
him of course to the Hebrew text instead of the Septua- 
gint, it also led him to Jewish commentators. Jewish 
commentators naturally suggested events and objects short 
of evangelical as the fulfilment of the prophetical an- 
nouncements, and, when it was possible, an ethical sense 
instead of a prophetical. The eighth chapter of Proverbs 
ceajsed to bear a Christian meaning, because, as Theodore 
maintained, the writer of the book had received the gift, 
not of prophecy, but of wisdom. The Canticles must be 
interpreted literally ; and then it was but an easy, or 
rather a necessary step, to exclude the book from the 
Canon. The book of Job too professed to be historical ; 
yet what was it really but a Gentile drama? He also 
gave up the books of Chronicles and Ezra, arid, strange to 
say, the Epistle of St. James, though it was contained in 
the Peschito Version of his Church. He denied that 
Psalms 22 and G9 [21 arid 68] applied to our Lord ; rather 
he limited the Messianic passages of the whole book to four ; 
of which the eighth Psalm was one, and the forty-fifth [44] 
another. The rest he explained of Hezekiah and Zorub- 
babel, without denying that they might be accommodated 
to an evangelical sense. 1 He explained St. Thomas's, 
1 Lengerke, de Eplirem. Syr. pp. 7375. 


words, f( My Lord and my God," as an exclamation of joy, 
and our Lord's " Receive ye the Holy Ghost," as an an- 
ticipation of the day of Pentecost. As may be expected 
ho denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Also, he 
held that the deluge did not cover the earth ; and, as 
others before him, he was heterodox on the doctrine of 
original sin, and denied the eternity of punishment. 


Maintaining that the real sense of Scripture was, not 
the scope of a Divine Intelligence, but the intention of the 
mere human organ of inspiration, Theodore was led to 
hold, not only that that sense was one in each text, but 
that it was continuous and single in a context ; that 
what was the subject of the composition in one "verse 
must be the subject in the next, and that if a Psalm was 
historical or prophetical in its commencement, it was the 
one or the other to its termination. Even that fulness, 
of meaning, refinement of thought, subtle versatility of 
feeling, and delicate reserve or reverent suggestiveness, 
which poets exemplify, seems to have been excluded from 
his idea of a sacred composition. Accordingly, if a Psalm 
contained passages which could not be applied to our 
Lord, it followed that that Psalm did not properly apply 
to Him at all, except by accommodation. Such at least is 
the doctrine of Cosmas, a writer of Theodore's school, who 
on this ground passes over the twenty-second, sixty-ninth, 
and other Psalms, and limits the Messianic to the second, 
the" eighth, the forty-fifth, and the hundred and-' tenth. 
" David," he says, " did not make common 'to the 'servants 
what belongs to the Lord 2 Christ, but what was proper to 
the Lord he spoke of the Lord, and what was proper to 
the servants, of servants. 1 " 8 Accordingly the twenty- 

. La Croze, Thesaur. Ep. t. 3, 145, 
Montf. Coll. Nov. t. 2, p. 227. 



second could not properly belong to Christ, because in the 
beginning it spoke of the " verba dclictoram meormi" A 
remarkable consequence would follow from this doctrine, 
that as Christ was to be separated from His Saint a, so the 
Saints were to be separated from Christ ; and an opening 
was made for a denial of the doctrine of their cultus, though 
this denial in the event has not been developed among the 
Nestorians. But a more serious consequence is latently con- 
tained in it, and nothing else than theNestorian heresy, viz. 
that our Lord's manhood is not so intimately included iu 
His Divine Personality that His brethren according to the 
flesh may be associated with the Image of the One Christ. 
Here St. Chrysostom pointedly contradicts the doctrine of 
Theodore, though his fellow-pupil and friend; 4 as does St. 
Ephrern, though a Syrian also; 5 and St. Basil. 6 


One other peculiarity of the Syrian school, viewed as 
independent of Nestorius, should be added : As it tended 
to the separation of the Divine Person of Christ from His 
manhood, so did it tend to explain away His Divine 
Presence in the Sacramental elements. Erncsti seems to 
consider the school, in modern language, Sacramentarian : 
and certainly sonic of the most cogent testimonies brought 
by moderns ugainst the Catholic doctrine of the Eucha- 
rist arc taken from writers who are connected with that 
school ; as the author, said to be St. Chrysostom, of the 
Epistle to Caosarius, Theodoret in his Eranistes, and 
Facuudus. Some countenance too is given to the same 
view of the Eucharist, at least in some parts of his works, 
by Origon, whose language concerning the Incarnation also 
leans to what was afterwards Nostorianism. To these may 

4 liORonnmlU'r, Hist. Tnterpr. t. 3, p. 278. 

5 Leugorko, do Ephr. Syr. pp. 105167. 

6 KrucHt. do i'roph. Mtm p. 4G& 


be added Eusebius, 7 who, far removed', as he was, from 
that heresy, was a disciple of the Syrian school. The lan- 
guage of the later Nestorian writers seems to have been of 
the same character. 8 Such then on the whole is the 
character of that theology of Theodore which passed from 
Cilicia and Antioch to Edessa first, and then to Nisibis. 


Edessa, the metropolis of Mesopotamia, had remained an 
Oriental city till the third century, when it was made a 
Roman colony by Caracalla. 9 Its position on the confines 
of two empires gave it great ecclesiastical importance, as 
the channel by which the theology of Borne and Greece 
was conveyed to a family of Christians, dwelling in con- 
tempt and persecution amid a still heathen world. It was 
the seat of various schools ; apparently of a Greek school, 
where the classics were studied as well as theology, where 
Euisebius of Eraesa 1 had originally been trained, and 
where perhaps Protogenes taught. 2 There were also Syrian 
schools attended by heathen and Christian youths in com- 
mon. The cultivation of the native language had been an 
especial object of its masters since the time of Vespasian, 
so that the pure and refined dialect went by the name of 
the Edessene. 3 At Edessa too St. Ephrem formed his own. 
Syrian school, which lasted long after him ; and there too 
was the celebrated Persian Christian school, over which 
Maris presided, who has been already mentioned as the 
translator of Theodore into Persian. 4 Even in the time of 
the predecessor of Ibas in the See (before A.D. 43&) the 
Nestorianism of this Persian School was so notorious that 

? Eccl. Theol. iii. 12. 

s Professor Lee's Serin. Oct. 1838, pp. 144152. 
> Noris. Opp. t. 2, p. 112. * August!. Kuseb. Em. Opp. 

2 Asseman. Bibl. Or. p. cmxxv. 8 Hoitman, Gram. Syr. Proleg. 4. 
4 The educated Persians were also acquainted with Syriac. Assem. t. i. 
p. 351, not. 

u 2 


Babbula the Bishop tad expelled its masters and scholars; 5 
and they, taking refuge in a country which might be 
called their own, had introdnced the heresy to the Churches 
subject to the Persian King, 


Something ought to be said of these Churches ; though 
little is known except what is revealed by the fact, in 
itself of no slight value, that they had sustained two 
persecutions at the hands of the heathen government in 
the fourth and fifth centuries. One testimony is extant 
as early as the end of the second century, to the effect that 
in Parthia, Media, Persia, and Bactria there were Chris- 
tians who ef were not overcome by evil laws and customs." 
In the early part of the fourth century, a bishop of Persia 
attended the Nicene Council, and about the same time 
Christianity is said to have pervaded nearly the whole of 
Assyria. 7 Monachism had been introduced there before 
the middle of the fourth century, and shortly after com- 
menced that fearful persecution in which sixteen thousand 
Christians are said to have suffered. It lasted thirty 
years, and is said to have recommenced at the end of 
the Century. Tho second persecution lasted for at least 
another thirty years of the next, at the very time when 
the Nestorian troubles wore in progress in the Empire. 
Trials such as these show the populousncss as well as the 
faith of the Churches in those parts, and the number of 
the Sees, for the names of twenty-seven Bishops are pre- 
served who suffered in the former persecution. One of 
them was apprehended together with sixteen priests, nine 
deacons, besides monks and nuns of his diocese ; another 
with twenty-eight companions, ecclesiastics or regulars ; 
another with one hundred ecclesiastics of different orders ; 

* Assoman., p. Ixx. 6 EUFKI>. ?iup. vi. 10. 

7 TUloinout, 2tfern, t, 7, p. 77. 


another with one hundred and twenty-eight ; another 
with his chorepiscopus and two hundred and fifty of his 
clergy. Such was the Church, consecrated by the blood 
of so many martyrs, which immediately after its glorious 
confession fell a prey to the theology of Theodore ; and 
which through a succession of ages manifested the energy, 
when it had lost the pure orthodoxy of Saints. 


The members of the Persian school, who had been 
driven out of Edessa by Rabbula, found a wide field open 
for their exertions under the pagan government with 
which they had taken refuge. The Persian monarehs, who 
had often prohibited by edict 8 the intercommunion of the 
Church under their sway with the countries towards the 
west, readily extended their protection to exiles, whose 
very profession was the means of destroying its Catho- 
licity. Barsumas, the most energetic of them, was placed 
in the metropolitan See of Msibis, where also the 
fugitive school was settled under the presidency of 
another of their party ; while Maris was promoted to the 
See of Ardaschir. The primacy of the Church had from 
an early period belonged to the See of Seleucia in Baby- 
lonia* Catholicus was the title appropriated to its occu- 
pant, as well as to the Persian Primate, as being deputies 
of the Patriarch of Antioch, and was derived ap- 
parently from the Imperial dignity so called, denoting 
their function as Procurators-general, or officers in chief 
for the regions in which they were placed. Acacius, 
another of the Edessene party, was put into this prin- 
cipal See, and suffered, if he did not further, the innova- 
tions of Barsumas. The mode by which the latter effected 
those measures has been left on record by an enemy. 
" Barsumas accused Babuaeus, the Catholicus, before Zing 
* Gibbon, ch. 47. 


Pherozes, whispering, ' These men hold the faith of the 
Romans, and are their spies. Give me power against them 
to arrest them/ " 9 It is said that in this way he obtained 
the death of Babuceus, whom Acacius succeeded. When 
a minority resisted l the process of schism, a persecution 
followed. The death of seven thousand seven hundred 
Catholics is said by Monophysite authorities to have been 
the price of the severance of the Chaldaic Churches from 
Christendom. 3 Their loss was compensated in the eyes of 
the Government by the multitude of Nestorian fugitives, 
who flocked into Persia from the Empire, numbers of them 
industrious artisans, who sought a country where their 
own religion was in the ascendant. 


That religion was founded, as we have already seen, 
in the literal interpretation of Holy Scripture, of which 
Theodore was the principal teacher. The doctrine, in 
which it formally consisted, is known by the name of 
Nosloriaiiism : it lay in the ascription of a human as well 
as a Divine Personality to our Lord ; and it showed itself 
in denying the title of " Mother of God/' or Oeorotcos, to 
the Blessed Mary. As to our Lord's Personality, the 
question of language came into the controversy, which 
always serves to perplex a subject and make a dispute seem a 
matter of words. The native Syrians made a distinction 
between the word " Person/' and " Prosojpon," which 
stands for ifc in Greek ; they allowed that there was one 
ProHopon or Parsopa, as they called it, and they held that 
there were two Persons. If it is asked what they meant 
by parwim, the answer seems to be, that they took the 
word merely in the sense of chcmwtcr or aspect, a sense 
familiar to the Greek pro&opon 9 and quite irrelevant as a 

9 Asseman* p. Ixxviii. l Gibbon, ibid. 

2 AssL'iuon. t. 2, p. 403, t. 3, y. 1:93. 


guarantee of their orthodoxy. It follows moreover that, 
since the aspect of a thing is its impression upon the 
beholder, the personality to which they ascribed unity 
must have laid in our Lord's manhood, and not in His 
Divine Nature. But it is hardly worth, while pursuing 
the heresy to its limits. Next, as to the phrase " Mother 
of God/' they rejected it as unscriptural ; they maintained 
that St, Mary was Mother of the humanity of Christ, 
not of the Word, and they fortified themselves by the 
Nicene Creed, in which no such title is ascribed to her. 


Whatever might be the obscurity or the plausibility of 
their original dogma, there is nothing obscure or attractive 
in the developments, whether of doctrine or of practice, in 
which it issued. The first act of the exiles of Edessa, on 
'their obtaining power in the Chaldean communion, was to 
abolish the celibacy of the clergy, or, in Gibbon's forcible 
words, to allow " the public and reiterated nuptials of the 
priests, the bishops, and even the patriarch himself." 
Barsunias, the great instrument of the change of religion, 
was the first to set an example of the new usage, and is 
even said by a Nestorian writer to have married a nun. 3 
lie passed a Canon, at Councils, held at Seleucia and 
elsewhere, that bishops and priests might marry, and 
might renew their wives as often as they lost them. The 
Oatholieus who followed Acacius went so far as to extend 
the benefit of the Canon to Monks, that is, to destroy the 
Monastic order ; and his two successors availed themselves 
of this liberty, and are recorded to have been fathers. A 
restriction, however, was afterwards placed -upon the 
Catholicus, and upon the Episcopal order. 

8 Assemaru t. 3, p. 67. 

296 THE OHUECH 01? [CE. VI. 


Such -were the circumstances, and such the principles, 
under which the See of Seleucia became the Rome of 
the East. In the course of time the Catholicus took on 
himself the loftier and independent title of Patriarch of 
Babylon ; and though Seleucia was changed for Ctesiphon 
and for Bagdad, 4 still the name of Babylon was preserved 
from first to last as a formal or ideal Metropolis. In the 
time of the Caliphs, it was at the head of as many as 
twenty -five Archbishops ; its Communion extended from 
China to Jerusalem; and its numbers, with those of the 
Monophysites, aro said to have surpassed those of the 
Greek and Latin Churches together. The Nestorians 
seem to have been unwilling, liko the Novatians, to be 
called by the name of their founder/ though they con- 
fessed it had adhered to them ; ono instance may bo speci- 
fied of their assuming the name of Catholic, 6 but there is 
nothing to show it was given them by others. 

"From the conquest of Persia/' says Gibbon, "they 
carried their spiritual arms to the North, tho East, and 
the South ; and the simplicity of the Gospel was fashioned 
and painted with tho colours of tho Syriac theology. la 
the sixth century, according to the report of a Nestorian 
traveller, Christianity was successfully preached to tho 
JBactrians, the Huns, the Persians, tho Indians, the Pcr- 
sarmenianSj the Modes, and tho Elunrites : the Barbaric 
Churches from the gulf of Persia to the Caspian Sea were 
almost infinite ; and thoir recent faith was conspicuous in 
the number and sanctity of their monks and martyrs. 
The pepper coast of Malabar and the isles of the ocean, 
Socotra and Ceylon, were peopled with an increasing 
multitude of Christians, and the bishops and clergy of 
those sequestered regions derived their ordination from, 

* Gxbbon, ibid. * Assem* p. Ixxvi. * Ibid, t. 3, p, 441. 


the Catholicus of Babylon. In a subsequent age, the zeal 
of the Nestorians overleaped the limits which had confined 
the ambition and curiosity both of the Greeks and Persians. 
The missionaries of Balch and Samarcand pursued without 
fear the footsteps of the roving Tartar, and insinuated 
themselves into the camps of the valleys of Imaus and the 
banks of the Selinga." 7 

3. The Monophysites* 

Eutyches was Archimandrite, or Abbot, of a Monastery 
in the suburbs of Constantinople; he was a man of 
unexceptionable character, and was of the age of seventy 
years, and had been Abbot for thirty, at the date of his 
unhappy introduction into ecclesiastical history. He had 
been the friend and assistant of St. Cyril of Alexandria, 
and had lately taken part against Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, 
whose name has occurred in the above account of the 
Nestorians. For some time he had been engaged in 
teaching a doctrine concerning the Incarnation, which he 
maintained indeed to be none other than that of St. Cyril's 
in his controversy with Nestorius, but which others 
denounced as a heresy in the opposite extreme, and 
substantially a reassertion of Apollinarianism. The sub- 
ject was brought before a Council of Constantinople, 
under the presidency of Flavian, the Patriarch, in the year 
448 ; and Eutyches was condemned by the assembled 
Bishops of holding the doctrine of One, instead of Two 
Natures in Christ. 


It is scarcely necessary for our present purpose to 
ascertain accurately what he held, and there has been a 
great deal of controversy on the subject; partly from 
confusion between him and his successors, partly from the 

1 Cb, 47. 


indecision or the ambiguity which commonly attaches to 
the professions of heretics. If a statement must here Ibe 
made of the doctrine of Eutyches himself, in whom the 
controversy began, let it be said to consist in these two 
tenets : in maintaining first, that " before the Incarnation 
there were two natures, after their union one/' or that our 
Lord was of or from two natures, but not in two ; and, 
secondly, that His flesh was not of one substance with ours, 
that is, not of the substance of the Blessed Virgin. Of 
those two points, he seemed willing to abandon the second, 
but was firm in his maintenance of the first. But let us 
return to the Council of Constantinople. 

In his examination Eutyches allowed that the Holy 
Virgin was consubstantial with us, and that "our God was 
incarnate of her ;" but ho would not allow that He was 
therefore, as man, consubsiantiul with us, his notion 
apparently being that union with the Divinity had changed 
what otherwise would have been human nature. However, 
when pressed, ho said, that, though up to that day he had 
not permitted himself to discuss the imturo of Christ, or to 
affirm that "Grod'H body is man's body though it was 
human/' yet ho would allow, if commanded, our Lord's 
con substantiality with us. Upon this Flavian observed 
that r Hhe Council was introducing no innovation, but 
declaring the faith of the Fathers." To his other position, 
however, that our Lord had but ono nature after the 
Incarnation, he adhered. : when the Catholic doctrine was 
put before him, ho answered, " Let St. Athanasius be 
read ; you will find nothing of the kind in him." 

His condemnation followed : it was signed by twenty-two 
Bishops and twenty-three Abbots; 1 among the former 
were Flavian of Constantinople, Basil metropolitan of 
Seleucia in Isauria, the metropolitans of Amasea in Pou- 

* Flour. Hist, xxvii, 29. 


tus, and Marcianopolis in Mcesia, and the Bisliop of Cos, 
the Pope's minister at Constantinople. 


Eutyches appealed to the Pope of the day, St. Leo, who 
at first hearing took his part. He wrote to Flavian that, 
"judging by the statement of Eufcyches, he did not see 
with what justice he had been separated from the com- 
munion of the Church." " Send therefore/' he continued, 
" some suitable person to give us a full account of what 
has occurred, and let us know what the new error is." 
St. Flavian, who had behaved with great forbearance 
throughout the proceedings, had not much difficulty in 
setting the controversy before the Pope in its true light. 

Eutyches was supported by the Imperial Court, and by 
Dioscorus the Patriarch of Alexandria ; the proceedings 
therefore at Constantinople were not allowed to settle the 
question. A general Council was summoned for the 
ensuing summer at Ephesus, where the third Ecumenical 
Council had been held twenty years before against 
Nestorius. It was attended by sixty metropolitans, ten 
from each of the great divisions of the East ; the whole 
number of bishops assembled amounted to one hundred and 
thirty-five. 2 Dioscorus was appointed President by the 
Emperor, and the object of the assembly was said to be 
the settlement of a question of faith which had arisen 
between Flavian and Eutyches. St. Leo, dissatisfied with 
the measure altogether, nevertheless sent his legates, but 
with the object, as their commission stated, and a letter he 
addressed to the Council, of " condemning the heresy, and 
reinstating Eutyches if he retracted." His legates took 
precedence after Dioscorus and before the other Patriarchs. 
He also published at this time his celebrated Tome on the 
Incarnation, in a letter addressed to Flavian. 

2 (Kbbon, ch. 47. 


The proceedings which followed were of so violent a 
character, that the Council has gone down to posterity 
under the name of the Latrocinium or " Gang of Robbers/* 
Eutyches was honourably acquitted, and his doctrine 
received; but the assembled Fathers showed some back- 
wardness to depose St. Flavian. Dioscorus had been 
attended by a multitude of monks, furious zealots for the 
Monophysite doctrine from Syria and Egypt, and by an 
armed force. These broke into the Church at his call ; 
Flavian was thrown down and trampled on, and received 
injuries of which he died the third day after. The Pope's 
legates escaped as they could; and the Bishops were 
compelled to bign a blank paper, which was afterwards filled 
up with the condemnation of Flavian. These outrages, 
however, were subsequent to the Sy nodical acceptance of 
the Creed of Eutyches, which seems to have been the 
spontaneous act of the assembled Fathers. The proceedings 
ended by Dioscorus excommunicating the Pope, and the 
Emporor issuing an edict in approval of the decision of the 


Before continuing the narrative, let us pause awhile to 
consider what it has already brought before us. An aged 
and blameless man, the friend of a Saint, and him the 
great champion of the faith against the heresy of his day, 
is found in the belief and maintenance of a doctrine, which 
ho declares to be the very doctrine which that Saint taught 
in opposition to that heresy. To prove it, he and his 
friends refer to the very words of St. Cyril ; Eustathius 
of Berytus quoting from him at Ephesus as follows : " Wo 
must not then conceive two natures, but one nature of thb 
Word incarnate." {i Moreover, it seems that St. Cyril had 
been called to account lor this very phrase, and had 
3 Coaeil. Hurtl. t. 2, p. 127. 


appealed more than once to a passage, which is extant as 
he quoted it, in a work by St. Athanasius. 4 ' Whether the 
passage in question is genuine is very doubtful, but that 
is not to the purpose ; for the phrase which it contains is 
also attributed by St. Cyril to other Fathers, and was 
admitted by Catholics generally, as by St. Flavian, who 
deposed Eutyches, nay was indirectly adopted by the 
Council of Chalcedon itself. 


But Eutyches did not merely insist upon a phrase; he 
appealed for his doctrine to the Fathers generally ; " I have 
read the blessed Cyril, and the holy Fathers, and the holy 
Athanasius," he says at Constantinople, " that they said, 
' Of two naturesbefore the union/ but that ' after the union' 
they said ( but one/ " 5 In his letter to St. Leo, he appeals 
in particular to Pope Julius, Pope Felix, St. Gregory Thau- 
maturgus, St. Gregory IsTazianzen, St. Basil, Atticus,and St. 
Proclus, He did not appeal to them unreservedly certainly, 
as shall be presently noticed ; he allowed that they might 
err, and perhaps had erred, in their expressions : but it is 
plain, even from what has been said, that there could be 
no consensus against him, as the word is now commonly 
understood. It is also undeniable that, though the word 
" nature " is applied to our Lord's manhood by St. 
Ambrose, St. Gregory ISTazianzen and others, yet on the 
whole it is for whatever reason avoided by the previous 
Fathers ; certainly by St. Athanasius, who uses the words 
" manhood," " flesh/* " the man," " economy," where a 
later writer would have used " nature : " and the same is 
true of St. Hilary. 6 In like manner, the Athanasian 
Creed, written, as it is supposed, some twenty years before 

4 Petav. de Incarn. iv. 6, 4. 5 Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 168. 

Vid. the Author's Athan. trans, [ed. 1881, vol. ii. pp. 351333, 426 
429, and on the general subject his llieol. Tracts, art. v.] 

302 THE CHURCH OP [oil. VI. 

the date of Eutyches, does not contain the word " nature." 
Much might be said on the plausibility of the defence, 
which Eutyches might have made for his doctrine from 
the history and documents of the Church before his 


Further, Eutyches professed to subscribe heartily the 
decrees of the Council of Mecca and Ephesus, and .his 
friends appealed to the latter of these Councils and to pre- 
vious Fathers; in proof that nothing could be added to the 
Creed of the Church. " I," ho says lo St. Leo, " even 
from my ciders have so understood, and from my child- 
hood have so been instructed, as the holy and Ecumenical 
Council at Nicwa of the three hundred and eighteen most 
blessed Bishops settled the faith, and which the holy 
Council held at Ephesus maintained and defined anew as 
the only faith ; and I have never understood otherwise 
than m the right or only true orthodox faith hath enjoined." 
He says at tho Latrocinium, " When I declared that my 
faith was conform able to tho decision of Nicaia, confirmed 
at Ephcsus, they demanded that I should add some words 
to it ; and I, fearing to act contrary to the decrees of the 
First Council of Ephowus and of tho Council of Nicooa, 
desired that your holy Council might be made acquainted 
with it, since I was ready to submit to whatever you should 
approve." 7 Dioscorus states tho matter more strongly : 
"We have heard/' ho says, "what this Council" of 
Ephesus <e decreed, that if any one affirm or opine any- 
thing, or raise any question, beyond the Creed aforesaid " 
of Niccoa, " he is to be condemned." 8 It is remarkable 

f Floury, Oxf* tr. xxvii. 39. 

8 Ibid. 41. In like manner, fit. Athunusius in the foregoing age had 
said, "The faith conft'Hsed at Niaou by the Fathers, according to^tho 
Scriptures, i HuiHoicnt for tho overthrow of all misbelief." ad Kptct. iuifc. 
Elsewhere, howuvor, he explains his statement, " Tho decrees of JS'icasa are 


that the Council of Ephesus, which, laid down this rule, 
had itself sanctioned the Theotocos, an addition, greater 
perhaps than any before or since, to the letter of the 
primitive faith. 


Further, Eutyches appealed to Scripture, and denied that 
a human nature was there given to our Lord ; and this 
appeal obliged him in consequence to refuse an uncondi- 
tional assent to the Councils and Fathers, though he so 
confidently spoke about them at other times. It was 
urged against him. that the Nicene Council itself had 
introduced into the Creed extra-scriptural terms, " f I have 
never found in Scripture/ he said/' according to one of 
the Priests who were sent to him, " ' that there are two 
natures/ I replied, * Neither is the Consubstantiality/ " 
(the Homoiision of Nicsea,) " ' to be found in the Scriptures, 
but in the Holy Fathers who well understood them and 
faithfully expounded them.' " 9 Accordingly, on another 
occasion, a report was made of him, that " he professed 
himself ready to assent to the Exposition of Faith made 
by the Holy Fathers of the Nicene and Ephesine Councils 
and he engaged to subscribe their interpretations. How- 
ever, if there were any accidental fault or error in any 
expressions which they made, this he would neither blame 
nor accept; but only search the Scriptures, as being 
surer than the expositions of the Fathers ; that since the 
time of the Incarnation of God the Word . . he wor- 

right and sufficient for the overthrow of all heresy, especially the Arian." 
ad, Max. fin. St. Gregory Nazianzen, in like manner, appeals to Nicsea ; 
but he ** adds an explanation on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit which was 
left deficient hy the Fathers, because the question had not then been raised." 
Bp. 102, init. This exclusive maintenance, and yet extension of the Creed, 
according to the exigences of the times, is instanced in other Fathers. Vid. 
Athan. tr. [ed. 1881, vol. ii. p. 82.] 
9 Fleury, ibid. 27. 


shipped one Nature . . . that the doctrine that our Lord 
Jesus Christ came of Two Natures personally united, this 
it was that he had learned from the expositions of the 
Holy Fathers ; nor did he accept, if ought was read to 
him from any author to [another] effect, because the Holy 
Scriptures, as he said, were better than the teaching of the 
Fathers/ 5 1 This appeal to the Scriptures will remind us 
of what has lately been said of the school of Theodore in 
the history of Nestorianism, and of the challenge of the 
Arians to St. Avitus before the Gothic King. 2 It had 
also been the characteristic of heresy in the antecedent 
period. St. Hilary brings together a number of instances 
in point, from the history of Marcollus, Photinus, Sabellius, 
Montanus, and Manes; then he adds, "They all speak 
Scripture without the sense of Scripture, and profess a 
faith without faith." * 


Once more ; the Council of the Latrocinium, however, 
tyrannized over by Dioscorus in the matter of St. Flavian, 
certainly did acquit Eutychcs and accept his doctrine 
canonically, and, as it would appear, cordially ; though 
their change at Chalccdon, and the subsequent variations 
of the East, make it a matter of little moment how they 
decided. The Acts of Constantinople were read to the 
Fathers of tho Latrocinium ; when they came to the part 
where Eusebius of Dorylrcum, the accuser of Eutyches, 
asked him, whether ho confessed Two Natures after the 
Incarnation, and tho Ooiisubstantiality according to the 
flofih, the Fathers broke in upon the reu'ding: '" Away with 
Eusebius ; bum him ; burn Ixirn alive ; cut him in two ; 

* Concil. Hard, t 2, p. 141. [A negative is omitted in the Greek', but 
inserted in the Latin.] 

* Supr. p. 24.5. 

a Ad Count, ii. 9. Vid. Attain, tr. [od. 18S1, vol. ii. p. 261.] 


as he divided, so let him be divided." 4 The Council-, seems 
to have been unanimous, with the exception of the Bop&V 
Legates, in the restoration of Eutyches ; a more complete 
decision can hardly be imagined. 

It is true the whole number of signatures now extant, 
one hundred and eight, may seem small out of a thousand, 
the number of Sees in the East ; but the attendance of 
Councils always bore a representative character. The 
whole number of East and West was about eighteen 
hundred, yet the second Ecumenical Council was attended 
by only one hundred and fifty, which is but a twelfth part 
of the whole number; the Third Council by about two 
hundred, or a ninth; the Council of Nicaea itself 
numbered only three hundred and eighteen Bishops. 
Moreover, when we look through the names subscribed to 
the Synodal decision, we find that the misbelief, or mis- 
apprehension, or weakness, to which this great offence must 
be attributed, was no local phenomenon, but the unanimous 
sin of Bishops in every patriarchate and of every school of 
the East. Three out of the four patriarchs were in favour 
of the heresiarch, the fourth being on his trial. Of these 
Domnus of Antioch and Juvenal of Jerusalem acquitted 
him, on the ground of his confessing the faith of Nicsea 
and Ephesus : and Domnus was a man of the fairest and 
purest character, and originally a disciple of St. Eu- 
themius, however inconsistent on this occasion, and. 
ill-advised in former steps of his career. Dioscorus, 
violent and bad man as he showed himself, had been 
Archdeacon to St. Cyril, whom he attended at the Council 
of Ephesus ; and was on this occasion supported by those 
Churches which had so nobly stood by their patriarch 
Athanasius in the great Arian conflict. These three 
Patriarchs were supported by the Exarchs of Ephesus and 
Caesarea in Cappadocia/ and both of these -as well as 
* Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 162. 



Domnus and Juvenal, were supported In turn by their 
subordinate Metropolitans. Even the Sees under the 
influence of Constantinople, which was the remaining 
sixth division of the East, took part with Eutvche?*. 
"We find among the signatures to his acquittal the 
Bishops of Dyrracbium, of Heraclea in Macedonia, ot 
Messene in the Peloponese, of Sebaste in Armenia, of 
Tarsus, of Damascus, of Berytus, of Bostra in Arabia, of 
Amicla in Mesopotamia, of Himeria in Orshoene, of 
JBab\lon, of Arsinoe in .Egypt, and of Gyrene. The 
Bishops of Palestine, of Macedonia, and of Achaia, where 
the keen eye of St. Athanasius had detected the doctrine 
in its germ, while Apollinariunism was but growing into 
form, were his actual partisans. Another Barsumas, a 
Syrian Abbot, ignorant of Greek, attended the Latrociniuin, 
as the representative of the monks of his nation, whom he 
formed into a force, material or moral, of a thousand 
strong, and whom at that infamous assembly he cheered 
on to the murder of St* Flavian. 


Such was the state of Eastern Christendom in the year 
4-10 ; a horewy, appealing to the Fathers, to the Creed, 
and, above all, to Scripture, was by a general Council, 
professing to bo Ecumenical, received as true hi the person 
of its proinulgator. If the East could determine a mattei 
V>f faith independently of the West, certainly the Mono- 
pfliysite heresy was established us Apostolic truth in all iU 
provinces from Macedonia to Egypt. 

Tfcoro has been a time in the history of Christianity, 
whon'^'t had been Atlianasius against the world, and the 
world against Athanasius. Tho need and straitness oi 
the Church had been great, and ono man was raised uj: 
for her deliverance. In this second necessity, who was 
the destined- champion of her who cannot fail ? Whence 


did he come 9 and what was his name? He came with an 
augury of victory upon him, which even Athanasius could 
not show ; it was Leo, Bishop of Bo me. 


Loo's augury of success, which even Athonasius had 
not, was this, that he was seated in the chair of St. 
Peter and the heir of his prerogatives. In the very 
beginning of the controversy, St. Peter Chrysologus had 
urged this grave consideration upon Eutyches himself, in 
words which have already been cited : " I eshort you, my 
venerable brother," he had said, "to submit yourself 
in everything to what has been written by the blessed 
Pope of Rome; for St. Peter, who lives and presides in 
his own See, gives the true faith to those who seek it." 5 
This voice had come from Ravenna, and now after the 
Latrocinium it was echoed back from the depths of Syria 
by the learned Theodoret. " That all-holy See," he says 
in a letter to one of the Pope's Legates, ec has the office of 
heading ({jyepovtav) the whole world's Churches for many 
reasons ; and above all others, because it has remained free 
of the communion of heretical taint, and no one of hetero- 
dox sentiments hath sat in it, but it hath preserved the 
Apostolic grace unsullied." 6 And a third testimony in 
encouragement of the faithful at the same dark moment 
issued from the Imperial court of the West. " We are/ 
bound," says Valentinian to the Emperor of the East, " t/o 
preserve inviolate in our times the prerogative of parti^u- 
lar reverence to the blessed Apostle Peter j that the ^nost 
blessed Bishop of Rome, to whom Antiquity assigned the 
priesthood over all (/cara travr&v) may have place and 
opportunity of judging concerning the faith < and the 
priests." 7 , Nor had Leo himself been wanting at the 

* Fleury, Hist. Oxf. tr. xxvii. 37. 6 .ftp. 116. 

7 Cone. Hard. t. 2, p 36. 

X 2 


same time in "the confidence" he had "obtained from 
the most blessed Peter and head of the Apostles, that he 
had authority to defend the truth for the peace of the 
Church." 8 Thus Leo introduces us to the Council of Chal- 
cedon, by which he rescued the East from a grave heresy. 


The Council met on the 8th of October, 451, and was 
attended by the largest number of Bibhops of any 
Council before or since; some say by as many as six 
hundred and thirty. Of these, only four came from the 
West, two Roman Legates and two Africans. 9 

Its proceedings were opened by the Pope's Legates, 
who said that they had it in charge from the Bishop of 
Borne, ' ' which is the head of all the Churches," to demand 
that Dioscorus should not sit, on the ground that "he 
had presumed to hold a Council without tho authority of 
the Apostolic See, which hud never be,en done nor was 
lawful to do." 1 This was immediately allowed them. 

The next act of the Council was to give admission to 
Thcodoret, who had been deposed at the Latrocinium. 
The Imperial officers present urged his admission, on the 
ground that " the most holy Archbishop Loo hath restored 
him to the Episcopal office, and the most pious Emperoi 
hath ordered that ho should assist at the holy Council." 2 
, Presently, a charge was brought forward againsl 
iDioscorus, that, though the Legates had presented a lottei 
from the Pope to tho Council, it had not boen read 
Dioscorus admitted not only tho fact, but its relevancy ; bui 
alleged in excuse that he had twice ordered it to be read ir 

Iii tho course of tho reading of tho Acts of th< 
Latrociuium and Constantinople, a number of Bishop) 

Ep. 43, Ftoay, Hint. Oxf. tr. xxviii, 17, note I 

* ConciU Hard. t. 2, p. C 3 JMcury, Oxt tr. xxviii. 2, 3. 

* - 


moved from the side of Dioscorus and placed themselves 
with the opposite party. When Peter, Bishop of Corinth, 
crossed over, the Orientals whom he joined shouted, 
" Peter thinks as does Peter; orthodox Bishop, welcome." 


In the second Session it was the duty of the Fathers 
to draw up a confession of faith condemnatory of the 
heresy. A committee was formed for the purpose, and the 
Creed of Kicsea and Constantinople was read ; then some 
of the Epistles of St. Cyril ; lastly, St. Leo's Tome, which 
had been passed over in silence at the Latrocinium. Some 
discussion followed upon the last of these documents, but 
at length the Bishops cried out, ee This is the faith of the 
Fathers ; this is the faith of the Apostles : we all believe 
thus; the -orthodox believe thus; anathema to him who 
does- not believe thus. Peter has thus spoken through 
Leo; the Apostles taught, thus." Readings from the other 
Fathers followed ; and then some days were allowed for 
private discussion, before drawing up the confession of faith 
which was to set right the heterodoxy of the Latrocinium. 

During the interval, Discorus was tried and condemned ; 
sentence was pronounced against him by the Pope's 
Legates, and ran thus : " The most holy Archbishop of 
Rome, Leo, through us and this present Council, with the 
Apostle St. Peter, who is the rock and foundation of the 
Catholic Church and of the orthodox faith, deprives him of 
the Episcopal dignity and every sacerdotal ministry." 

In the fourth Session the question o the definition of 
faith came on again, but the Council- got no further than 
this, that it received the definitions of the three previous 
Ecumenical Councils; it would not add to them what 
Leo required. One hundred and sixty Bishops however 
subscribed his Tome. 

310 . THJ3 CHUJGCE 02? [CK. VI. 


In the fifth Session the question came on once more; 
some sort of definition of faith was the result of the labours 
of the committee, and was accepted by the great majority 
of the Council. The Bishops cried out, " We are all satis- 
fied with the definition ; it is the faith of the Fathers : 
anathema to him who thinks otherwise : drive out the 
Nestorians." When objectors appeared, Anatolius, the 
new Patriarch of Constantinople, asked " Did not every one 
yesterday consent to the definition of faith ? " on which 
the Bishops answered, " Every ono consented ; wo do not 
believe otherwise ; it is the Faith of tho Fathers ; let it be 
set down that Holy Mary is the Mother of God: let this 
be added to the Creed ; put out the Nestorians." a The ob- 
jectors were the Pope's Legates, supported by a certain 
number of Orientals: those clear-sighted, firm-minded 
Latins understood full well what and what ulone was tho 
true expression of orthodox doctrine under the emergency 
of the existing heresy. They hud been instructed to induce 
the Council to pass a declaration to the effect, that Christ 
was not only " of/' but '* in *' two natures. However, they 
did not enter upon disputation on the point, but they used 
a more intelligible argument: If the Fathers did not 
consent to tho letter of the blessed Bishop Leo, they 
would leave tho Council and go home. Tho Imperial 
* officers took tho part of the Legates. Tho Council how- 
ever persisted: "Everyone approved tho definition ; lot 
it be subscribed : he who refuses to subscribe 'it is a 
heretic 1 / V r luey even proceeded to refer it to Divine 
inspiration. Tho officers asked if they received St. Leo's 
Tome; they answered that they had subscribed it, but 
that thoy would not introduce its contents into their 

Ibid. 20. 


definition of faith. " We are for no other definition/' 
they said ; " nothing is wanting in this." 


Notwithstanding, the Pope's Legates gained their point; 
through the support of the Emperor Marcian, who had 
succeeded Theodosius. A fresh committee was obtained 
under the threat that, if they resisted, the Council should 
be transferred to the West. Some voices were raised 
against this measure ; the cries were repeated against the 
Roman party, " They are JSTestorians ; let them go to 
Rome." The Imperial officers remonstrated, " Dioscorus 
paid, * Of two natures ;' Leo says, ' Two natures :' which 
will you follow, Leo or Dioscorus?" On their answering 
* Leo," they continued, " Well then, add to the definition, 
according to the judgment of our most holy Leo." 
Nothing more was to be said. The committee immediately 
proceeded to their work, and in a, short time returned to 
the assembly with such a definition as the Pope required. 
After reciting the Creed of Nicsea and Constantinople, it 
observes, " This Creed were sufficient for the perfect know- 
ledge of religion, but the enemies of the truth have 
invented novel expressions " and therefore it proceeds to 
state the faith more explicitly. When this was read 
through, the Bishops all exclaimed, " This is the faith of 
the Fathers ; we all follow it." And thus ended the con- 
troversy once for all. 

The Council, after its termination, addressed a letter to 
St. Leo; in it the Fathers acknowledge him as "con- 
stituted interpreter of the voice of Blessed Peter," * (with 
an allusion to St. Peter's Confession in Matthew xvi.,) and 
speak of him as "the very one commissioned with the 
guardianship of the Vine by the Saviour." 

4 Cone. Hard. t. 2, p. 656. 

312 THE CHURCH OF [OH. 71. 


Such is the external aspect of those proceedings by 
which the Catholic faith has been established in Christen- 
dom against the Monophysites. That the definition 
passed at Chalceclon is the Apostolic Truth once de- 
livered to the Saints is most firmly to be received, from 
faith in that overruling Providence which is by special 
promise extended over the acts of the Church ; moreover, 
that it is in simple accordance with tho faith of St. 
Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianflen, and all the other 
Fathers, will bo evident to the theological student in pro- 
portion as ho becomes familiar with their works : but the 
historical account of tho Council is this, that a formula 
which the Creed did not contain, which the Fathers did 
not unanimously witness, and which some eminent Saints 
had almost in set terms opposed, which tho whole East 
refused as a symbol, not onco, but twice, patriarch by 
patriarch, metropolitan by metropolitan, first by tho mouth 
of above a hundred, then by the mouth of above six hun- 
dred of its Bishops, and refused upon the grounds of its 
being an addition to the Creed: was forced upon tho Coun- 
cil, not indeed as being such an addition, yot, on the other 
hand, not for subscription merely, but for acceptance as 
a definition of faith under tho sanction of an anathema, 
forced on tho Council by tho resolution of the Pope of the 
day, acting through his Legates and supported by the civil 
power. 5 


It cannot bo supposed that such a transaction, would 
approve itself to the Churches of Egypt, and tho event 
showed it : they disowned tho authority of tho Council, 

* [Can tmy ao grave an etc $arle charge as this bo urged against tho 
recent Vatican Council ?] 


and called its adherents Ohalcedonians, 6 and Synodites. 7 
For here was the West tyrannizing over the East, forcing 
it into agreement with itself, resolved to have one and one 
only form of words, rejecting the definition of faith which 
the East had drawn up in Council, bidding it and making 
it frame another, dealing peremptorily and sternly with. 
the assembled Bishops, and casting contempt 1 on the most 
sacred traditions of Egypt 1 What was Eutycbes to them ? 
He might be guilty or innocent ; they gave him up : 
Dioscorus had given him up at Ohalcedon ; 8 they did not 
agree with him : 9 he was an extreme man ; they would 
not call themselves by human titles ; they were not Euty- 
chians ; Eutyches was not their master, but Athanasius 
and Cyril were their doctors. 1 The two great lights of 
their Church, the two greatest and most successful 
polemical Fathers that Christianity had seen, had both 
pronounced "One Nature Incarnate," though allowing 
Two before the Incarnation ; and though Leo and his 
Council had not gone so far as to deny this phrase, they 
had proceeded to say what was the contrary to it, to ex- 
plain away, to overlay the truth, by defining that the 
Incarnate Saviour was " in Two Natures/' At Ephesus it 
had been declared that the Creed should not be touched ; 
the Chalcedonian Fathers had, not literally, but virtually 
added to it : by subscribing Leo's Tome, and promulgating 
their definition of faith, they had added what might be 
called, " The Creed of Pope Leo." 


It is remarkable, as has been just stated, that Dioscorus, 

I cannot find my reference for tins f acb ; the sketch is Forced from notes 
made some years since, though I have now verified them. 
f Leont. de Sect. v. p. 512. 

8 Concil. Hard. t. 2, p. 99, vid. alsop, 418, 

9 Renaud, Patr. Alex. p. 115. 
1 Assern. t. 2, pp. 133137. 


wicked man as lie was In act, was of the moderate or middle 
school in doctrine, as the violent and able Severus after 
him ; and from the first the great body of the protesting 
party disowned Eutyches, whose form of the heresy took 
refuge in Armenia, where it remains to this day. The 
Armenians alone were pure Eutychiuns, and so zeakmslv 
such that they innovated on the ancient and recognized 
custom of mixing water with the wine in the Holy 
Eucharist, mid consecrated the wine by itself in token of 
the one nature, as they considered, of the Christ. Else- 
where both name and doctrine of Eutyches were abjured; 
the heretical bodies in Egypt and Syria took a tifclo from 
their special tenet, and formed the Monophvsite com- 
munion. Their theology was at once simple and specious. 
They based it upon the illustration which is familiar to us 
in the Athanusian Creed, and which had been used by St. 
Gregory Nusdunzen, St. Cyril, St. Augustine, Vincent of 
Lerius, not to say St. Leo himself. Thoy argued that as 
body and soul nuulo up one man, KO Uod and man made 
tip but one, though one compound Nature, in Christ; It 
might have been charitably hoped that their difference 
from the Catholics had been a simple mutter of words, as 
it is allowed by Vigilius of Thapsus really to have boon in 
many cases; but their refusal to obey the voice of tlio 
Church was a token of real error in their faith, and their 
implicit heterodoxy is proved by their connexion, in spite 
of themselves, with the extreme or ultra party whom they 
so vehemently disowned. 

It is very observable that, ingenious as is their theory 
aud sometimes perplexing to a disputant, the Monophy- 
sites never could shake themselves free of the Eutychiuns; 
and though they could draw intelligible lines on paper 
between the two doctrines, yet in fact by a hidden fatality 
their partisans were ever running into or forming alliance 
with the anathematized extreme. Thus Peter the Puller 


the Theopaschite (Eutychian), is at one time in alliance 
with. Peter the Stammerer, who advocated the Henoticon 
(which was Monophysite). The Acephali, though sepa- 
rating from the It tter Peter for that advocacy, and accused 
by Leon tins of being Gaianites 2 (Eutychians), are con- 
sidered by Facundus as Monophysites. 3 Timothy the Cat, 
who is said to have agreed with Dioscorus and Peter the 
Stammerer, who signed the Henoticon, that is, with two 
Monophysite Patriarchs, is said nevertheless, according to 
Anastasius, to have maintained the extreme tenet, that 
" the Divinity is the sole nature of Christ." 4 Severus, 
according to Anastasius, 4 symbolized with the Phanta- 
siasts (Eutychians), yet he is more truly," according to 
Leontius, the chief doctor and leader of the Monophysites. 
And at one time there was an union, though temporary, 
between the Theodosians (Monophysites) and the Gaian- 


Such a division of an heretical party, into the main- 
tainers, of an extreme and a moderate view, perspicuous 
and plausible on paper, yet in fact unreal, impracticable, 
and hopeless, was no new phenomenon in the history of 
the Church. As Eutyches put forward an extravagant 
tenet, which was first corrected into the Monophysite, and 
then relapsed hopelessly into the doctrine of the Phan- 
tasiasts and the Theopaschites, so had Arius been super- 
seded by the Eusebians and had revived in Eunomius ; and 
as the moderate Eusebians had formed the great body of the 
dissentients from the Nicene Council, so did the Monophy- 
sites include the mass of those who protested against Chal- 
codon ; and as the Eusebians had been moderate in creed, 
yet unscrupulous in act, so were the Monophysites. And 

* Leont. de Sect. vii. pp. 521, 2. * Fac. i. 5, circ. iiiit. 

* Hodeg. 20, p. 319. 


as the Eusebians were ever running individually into pure 
Arianism, so did the Monophy sites run into pure Euty- 
chianism. And as the Monophysites set themselves 
against Pope Leo, so had the Eusebians, with even less 
provocation, withstood and complained of Pope Julius. 
In like manner, the Apollinarians had divided into two 
sects ; one, with Tirnotlieus, going the whole length of 
the inferences which the tenet of their master involved, 
and the more cautious or timid party making an unintel- 
ligible stand with Valentinus. Again, in the history of 
Nestorianism, though it admitted less opportunity for 
division of opinion, the See of Rome was with St. Cyril in 
one extreme, Nestorius in the other, and between them 
the great Eastern party, headed by John of Antioch and 
Theodoret, not heretical, but for a time dissatisfied with 
the Council of Ephesus. 


The Ncstorian heresy, I havo said, gave loss opportunity 
for doctrinal varieties than the heresy of Eutyches. Its 
spirit was rationalising, and had the qualities which go 
with rationalism. When cast out of the lloman Empire,, 
it addressed itaelf, as we have scon, to a new and rich 
liold of exertion, got possession of an Established Church, 
co-openitoci with the civil government;, adopted secular 
fashions, and, by whatever meant*, pushed itself -out into 
an Empire. Apparently, though it requires a very inti- 
mate knowledge of its history to speak except con- 
jecturully, it was a political power rather than a dogma, 
and despised the science of theology. Eutychianisrn, on 
the other hand, was mystical, Hevero, enthusiastic ; with 
the exception of HevertiH, and one or two more, it was 
supported by little polemical skill; it had little hold upon 
the intellectual Greeks of Syria uiul Asia Minor, but flou- 
rished in Egypt, which was fur behind the East in oivilissar 


tion, and among the native Syrians. Nestorianism, like 
Arianism 6 before it, was a cold religion, and more fitted 
for the schools than for the many ; but the Monophysifces 
carried the people with them. Like modern Jansenism, 
and unlike Nestorianism, the Moriophysites were famous 
for their austerities. They have, or had, five Lents in 
the year, during which laity as well as clergy abstain not 
only from flesh and eggs, but from wine, oil, and fish. 6 
Monachism was a characteristic part of their ecclesiastical 
system : their Bishops, and Maphrian or Patriarch, were 
always taken from the Monks, who are even said to have 
worn an iron shirt or breastplate as a part of their monas- 
tic habit. 7 


Severus, Patriarch of Antioch at the end of the fifth 
century, has already been mentioned as an exception to 
the general character of the Monophysites, and, by his 
learning and ability, may be accounted the founder of its 
theology. Their cause, *however, had been undertaken by 
the Emperors themselves before him. For the first thirty 
years after the Council of Chalcedon, the protesting 
Church of Egypt had been the scene of continued tumult 
and bloodshed. Dioscorus had been, popular with the 
people for his munificence, in spite of the extreme laxity 
of his morals, and for a while the Imperial Government 
failed in obtaining the election of a Catholic successor. 
At length Proterius, a man of fair character, and the 
Ticar-general of Dioscorus on his absence at Chalcedon, 
was chosen, consecrated, and enthroned ; but the people 
rose against the civil authorities, and the military, coming 

* i.e* Arianisra in the East : ** Sanctiores aures plebis quam corda sunt 
sacerdotmn/' S. Hil. contr. Auxent. 6. It requires some research to account 
for its hold on the barbarians. ViJ. supr. pp. 274, 5. 

Gibbon, ch. 47. 7 Assem. t 2, de Monoph. circ. fin. 

818 THE CHUKCTT OF [CE. tl. 

to their defence, were attacked with stones, and pursued 
into a church, where they were burned alive by the mob. 
Next, the popular leaders prepared to intercept the sup- 
plies of grain which were destined for Constantinople ; 
and, a defensive retaliation taking place, Alexandria was 
starved. Then a force oi two thousand men was sent 
for the restoration of order, who permitted themselves in 
scandalous excesses towards the women of Alexandria. 
Proton us's life was attempted, and he was obliged to be 
attended by a guard. The Bishops of Egypt would not 
submit to him ; two of his own clergy, who afterward suc- 
ceeded him, Timothy and Peter, seceded, and were joined by 
four or five of the Bibhops and by the mass of the popu- 
lation; 8 and the Catholic Patriarch was left without a 
communion in Alexandria. He hold a council, and con- 
demned the schismatics ; and the Emperor, seconding his 
efforts, sent them out of the country, and enforced the 
laws against the Eutychians. An external quiet suc- 
ceeded ; then Murciuu died; and then forthwith Timothy 
(the Cat) made his appearance again, first in Egypt, then in 
Alexandria. The people rose in his favour, and carried in 
triumph thoir persecuted champion to the groat CIDSU- 
rean Church, where he was consecrated Patriarch by two 
deprived Bishops, who had been put out of their sees, 
whether by a Council of Egypt or of Palestine. Timo- 
thy, now raised to the Episcopal rank, began to create a 
now succession ; he ordained Bishops for the Churchss 
of Egypt, and drove into exile those who were in posses- 
sion. The Imperial troops, who had been stationed in 
Upper Egypt, returned to Alexandria ; the mob rose again, 
broke into the Church, where St. Proterius was in prayer, 
and murdered him. A general ejectment of the Catholic 
clergy throughout Egypt followed. On their betaking 
themselves to Constantinople to the new * Emperor, 
* Ltjont. Secfc. v. inii * TiUeWGiifc, 1. 15, p. 781. 


Timothy and his party addressed him also. They quoted 
the Fathers, and demanded the abrogation of the Council 
of Chalcedon. Next they demanded a conference; the 
Catholics said that what was once done could not be un- 
done ; their opponents agreed to this and urged it, as their 
very argument against Chalcedon, that it added to the 
faith, and reversed former decisions. 1 After a rule of 
three years, Timothy was driven out and Catholicism 
restored ; but then in turn the Monophysites rallied, and 
this state of warfare and alternate success continued for. 
thirty years. 


At length the Imperial Government, wearied out with 
a dispute which was interminable, came to the conclusion 
that the only way of restoring peace to the Church, was to 
abandon the Council of Chalcedon. In the year 482 was 
published the famous Senoticon or Pacification of Zeno, in 
which the Emperor took upon himself to determine a matter 
of faith. The Henoticon declared that no symbol of faith 
but that of the Nicene Creed, commonly so called, should 
be received in the Churches ; it anathematized the opposite 
heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches, and it was silent on 
the question of the " One " or " Two Natures " after the 
Incarnation. This middle measure had the various effects 
which might be anticipated. It united the great body of 
the Eastern Bishops, who readily relaxed into the vague 
profession of doctrine from which they had been roused by 
the authority of St. Leo. All the Eastern Bishops signed 
this Imperial formulary. But this unanimity of the East 
was purchased by a breach with the "West ; for the Popes 
cut off the communication between Greeks and Latins for 
thirty-five years. On the other hand, the more zealous 
Monophysites, disgusted at their leaders for accepting what 
they considered an unjustifiable compromise, split off from 
i Tillemont, Mem. 1. 15, pp. 790-811, 


the Eastern Churches, and formed 'a sect by themselves, 
which remained without Bishops (accphali) for three 
hundred years, when at length they were received baci 
into the communion of the Catholic Church. 


Dreary and waste was the condition of the Church, and 
forlorn her prospects, at the period which we have beer 
reviewing. After the brief triumph which attended the 
conversion of Constantino, trouble and trial had returned 
upon her. Her imperial protectors were failing in powoi 
or in faith. Strange forms of evil wore rising in the 
distance and were thronging for the conflict. There wag 
but one spot in the whole of Christendom, one voice in the 
whole Episcopate, to which tho faithful turned in hope in 
that miserable day. In the year 40 i J, in tho Pontificate oi 
Gelasius, the whole of the East was in tho hands oi 
traitors to Chalccdon, and tho whole of tho West under 
tho tyranny of the ,open enemies of NICJXJIU Italy was the 
prey of robbers ; mercenary bands had overrun its territory 
and barbarians wore sewing on its farms and settling in 
its villas. The peasants \verc thinned by famine and 
pestilence ; Tuscany might be even said, as Gelasius words 
it, to contain scarcly a single inhabitant. 8 Odoacer was 
sinking before Theodoric, and the Pope was changing one 
A nun master for another. And aw if one heresy wore not 
enough, PolagiiwiLsm was sprawling with the connivance 
of the Bishops in the territory of I'icenum. In the North 
of the dismembered Empire, tho Britons had first been 
infected by Pelagiunisin, and now were dispossessed by the 
heathen Saxons. Tho Armoricans still preserved a 
witness of Catholicism in the West of Gaul ; but Picardy, 
Champagne, and the neighbouring provinces, where some 
remnant of its supremacy had been found, hud Ltely 
* Gibbon, Hist. ch. 36, fm. t 


submitted to -the yet heathen Clovis. The Arian kingdoms 
of Burgundy in France, and of the Visigoths in Aquitaine 
and Spain, oppressed a zealous and Catholic clergy, Africa 
was in still more deplorable condition under the cruel sway 
of the Vandal Gundamond : the people indeed uncorrupted 
by the heresy, 3 but their clergy in exile and their worship 
suspended. While such was the state of the Latins, what 
had happened in the East ? Acacius, the Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, had secretly taken part against the Council of 
Chalcedon and was under Papal excommunication. Nearly 
the whole East had sided with Acacius, and a schism had 
begun between East and West, which lasted, as I have 
above stated, for thirty-five years. The Henoticon was 
in force, and at the Imperial command had been signed by 
all the Patriarchs and Bishops throughout the Eastern 
Empire. 4 In Armenia the Churches were ripening for the 
pure Eutychianism which they adopted in the following 
century ; and in Egypt the Acephali, already separated 
from the Monophysite Patriarch, were extending in the 
east and west of the country, and preferred the loss of the 
Episcopal Succession to the reception of the Council of 
Chalcedon. And while Monophysites or their favourers 
occupied the Churches of the Eastern Empire, Nestorianism 
was making progress in the territories beyond it, Barsu- 
mas had held the See "of Nisibis, Theodore was read in 
* the schools of Persia, and the successive Catholic! of 
Seleucia had abolished Monachism aad were secularizing 
the clergy. 


If then there is now a form of Christianity such, that 
it extends throughout the world; though with varying 
measures of prominence or prosperity in separate places ; 
that it lies under the power of sovereigns and magistrates, 
in various ways alien to its faith ; that flourishing nations 
Gibbon, Hist. ch. 36, fin* 4 Gibbon, Hist. ch. 47. 



and great empires, professing or tolerating the Christian 
name, lie oyer against it as antagonists ; that schools of 
philosophy and learning are supporting theories, and 
following out conclusions, hostile to it, and establishing an 
exegetical system subversive of its Scriptures ; that it has 
lost whole Churches by schism, and is now opposed by 
powerful communions once part of itself; that it has been 
altogether or almost driven from some countries ; that in 
others its line of teachers is overlaid, its flocks oppressed, 
its Churches occupied, its property held by what may be 
called a duplicate succession ; that in others its members 
are degenerate and corrupt, and are surpassed in conscien- 
tiousness and in virtue, as in gifts of intellect, by the very 
heretics whom it condemns ; that heresies are rife and 
bishops negligent within its own pale ; and that amid 
its disorders and its fears there is but one Voice for whose 
decisions the peoples wait with trust, one Name and one See 
to which they look with hope, and that name Peter, and 
that see Rome ; such a religion is not unlike the Chris- 
tianity of the fifth and sixth Centuries.* 

5 [The above sketch has run to great length, yet it is only part of what 
might he set down in evidence of the wonderful identity of type which 
characterises the Catholic Church from first to lust. I have confined myself 
for the most part to her political aspect; hut a parallel illustration 
might he drawn simply from her doctrinal, or from her devotional. As to 
her devotional aspect, Cardinal Wiseman has shown its identity in the fifth 
compared with the nineteenth century, in an article of the X>Min Review, 
quoted in part in Via Media, vol. ii. p. 378. Indeed ib is confessed on all 
hands, as by Middlcton, Gibbon, &c,, that from the time of Constantino to 
their own, the system and the phenomena of worship in Christendom, from 
Moscow to Spain, and from Ireland to Chili, is one and the same. I have 
myself paralleled Medieval Europe with modern Belgium or Italy, in point 
of ethical character in "Difficulties of Anglicans," vol. i. Lecture ix., 
referring the identity to tho operation of a principle, insisted on presently, 
the Supremacy of Faith. And so again, as to the system of Catholic doctrine, 
the type of the Beligion remains the same, because it has developed 
according to the ** analogy of faith," as is observed in Apol., p. 196, * The 
idea of the Blessed Virgin was, as it were, magnified in the Church of 
Rome, as time went on, hut so were all the Christian ideas, as that of the 
Blessed Eucharist," &c.] 




IT appears then that there has been a certain general type 
of Chiistianity in every age, by which ifc is known at first 
sight, differing from itself only as what is young differs 
from what is mature, or as found in Europe or in America, 
so that it is named at once and without hesitation, as forms 
of nature are recognized by experts in physical science ; or 
as some work of literature or art is assigned to its right 
author by the critic, difficult as may be the analysis of that 
specific impression by which he is enabled to do so. And 
it appears that this type has remained entire from first to 
last, in spite of that process of development which seems 
to be attributed by all parties, for good or bad, to the 
doctrines, rites, and usages in which Christianity consists; 
or, in other words, that the changes which have taken 
place in Christianity have not been such as to destroy that 
type, that is, that they are not corruptions, because they 
are consistent with that type. Here then, in the preser- 
vation of type, we have a first Note of the fidelity of the 
existing developments of Christianity. Let us now pro- 
ceed to a second. 

1. The Principles of Christianity. 
When developments in Christianity are spoken of, it is 


sometimes supposed that they are deductions and diversions 
made at random, according to accident or the caprice of 
individuals ; whereas it is because they have been conducted 
all along on definite and continuous principles that the type 
of the Keligion has remained from first to la at unalterable. 
What then are the principles under which the developments 
have been made ? I "will enumerate some obvious ones. 


They must be many and positive, as well as obvious, if 
iney are to be effective ; thus the Society of Friends seems 
in the course of years to havo changed its type in con- 
sequence of its scarcity of principles, a fanatical spiri- 
tualism and an intense secularly, types simply contrary 
to each other, being alike consistent with its main 
principle, 6< Forms of worship are Antichristiim." Chris- 
tianity, on the other hand, has principles so distinctive, 
numerous, various, and operative, as to be unlike any 
other religious, ethical, or political system that the world 
has ever seen, unlike, not only in character, but in 
persistence in that character. I cannot attempt here to 
enumerate more than a few by way of illustration. 


For the convenience of arrangement, I will consider the 
Incarnation the central truth of the gospel, and the source 
whence we are to draw out its principles. This great 
doctrine is unequivocally announced in numberless passages 
of the Now Testament, especially by St. John and St. Paul ; 
as is familiar to us all : " The Word was made flesh and 
dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." " That which 
was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we 
have seen with our eyen, which we have looked upon, and 
our hands have handled, of the Word of life, that declare 
we to you,*' " For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus 


Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes 
He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be 
rich/' "Not I 5 but Christ liveth in me, and the life which 
I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son oi 
God, who loved me and gave Himself for ma" 


In such passages as these we have 

1. The principle of dogma, that is, supernatural truths 
irrevocably committed to human language, imperfect 
because it is human, but definitive and necessary because 
given from above. 

2. The principal of faith, which is the correlative of 
dogma, being the absolute acceptance of the divine Word 
with an internal assent, in opposition to the informations, 
if such, of sight and reason. 

8. Faith, being an act of the intellect, opens a way for 
inquiry, comparison and inference, that is, for science in 
religion, in subservience to itself; this is the principle of 

4. The doctrine of the Incarnation is the announcement 
of a divine gift conveyed in a material and visible medium, 
it being thus that heaven and earth are in the Incarnation 
united- That is, it establishes in the very idea of Chris- 
tianity the sacramental principle as its characteristic. 

5. Another principle involved in the doctrine of the 
Incarnation, viewed as taught or as dogmatic, is the 
necessary use of language, e. g. of the text of Scripture, in 
a second or mystical sense. Words must be made to express 
new ideas, and are invested with a sacramental office. 

6. It is our Lord's intention in His Incarnation to make 
us what He is Himself; this is the principle of grace, 
which is not only holy but sanctifying. 

7. It cannot elevate and change us without mortifying 
our lower nature : here is the principle of asceticisr/1. 


8. And, involved in tliis death of the natural man, 
is necessarily a revelation of the malignity of Bin, in 
corrohoration of the forebodings of conscience. 

9. Also by the fact of an Incarnation we are taught that 
matter is an essential part of us, and, as well as mind, is 
capable of sanctifieation, 


Here are nine specimens of Christian principles out of 
the many l which might be enumerated, and will any one 
say that they have not been retained in vigorous action in 
the Church at all times amid whatever development of 
doctrine Christianity has experienced, so as even to be the 
very instruments of that development, and as patent, and 
as oporative> in the Latin and Greek Christianity of this 
day as tlioy were in the beginning ? 

This continuous identity of principles in ecclesiastical 
action has been seen in part in treating of the Note oi 
Unity of type, and will be soon also in the Notes which 
follow ; however, as some direct account of them, in illus- 
tration, may bo desirable, I will single out four as speci- 
mens, Faith, Theology, Scripture, and Dogma. 

2. Supremacy of Faith. 

This principle which, as wo have alroacly seen, was s< 
great a jest to CeLsus and Julian, is of the- following kind : 

* [K. g. development HsulC is such a principle* also. ** And tjins I was le 
on to a further consideration. I saw that the principle of development nc 
only accounted for certain facts, but* was in itself a rimuirkahlo philosophic 
phenomenon, giving a character to the whole course 1 of (Jhmlian though 
It was dihcernible from the tirnt yearn of Catholic teaching up to tho preset 
day, and gave to that touching a mrity and individuality. It served as 
sort of tost, which the Anglican could not Htnnd, that modern Komo was i 
truth ancient Antioeh, Alexandria, ami Constantinople, just as u inathematici 
curve ha its own law aud expression." Apoi. p li)&, vid. also Angl. Oil 
voli* Loot xiU 7J 


That belief in Christianity is in itself better than unbelief; 
that faith, though an intellectual action, is ethical in its 
origin ; that it is safer to believe; that we must begin with 
believing; that as for the reasons of believing, they are for 
the most part implicit, and need be but slightly recognized 
by the mind that is under their influence ; that they con- 
sist moreover rather of presumptions and ventures after 
the truth than of accurate and complete proofs ; and that 
probable arguments, under the scrutiny and sanction^ of 
a prudent judgment, are sufficient for conclusions which 
we even embrace as most certain, and turn to the most 
important uses. 


Antagonistic to this is the principle that doctrines are 
only so far to be considered true as they are logically de- 
monstrated. This is the assertion of Locke, who says in 
defence of it," Whatever God hath revealed is certainly 
true ; no doubt can be made of it. This is the proper object 
of Faith ; but, whether it be a divine revelation or no, 
reason must j udge." Now, if he merely means that proofs 
can be given for Revelation, and that Reason comes in 
logical order before Faith, such a doctrine is in no sense 
uncatholic; but he certainly holds that for an individual 
to act on Faith without proof, or to make Faith a personal 
principle of conduct for themselves, without waiting till 
they have got their reasons accurately drawn out and ser- 
viceable for controversy, is enthusiastic and absurd. 
"How a man may know whether he be [a lover of truth 
for truth's sake] is worth inquiry ; and I think there is 
this one unerring mark of it, viz. the not entertaining any 
proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built 
upon, will warrant Whoever goes beyond this measure of 
assent, it is plain, receives not truth in the love of it ; 
loves not truth for truth's sake, but for some other by- 



It does not seem to have struck him that our " by-end " 
may be the desire to please our Maker, and that the de- 
fect of scientific proof may be made up to our reason by 
our love of Him. It does not seem to have struck him that 
such a philosophy as his cut off from the possibility and 
the privilege of faith all but the educated few, all but the 
learned, the clear-headed, tho men of practised intellects 
and balanced minds, men who had leisure, who had oppor- 
tunities of consulting others, and kind and wise friends 
to whom they deferred. How could a religion ever be 
Catholic, if it was to be called credulity or enthusiasm in 
the multitude to use those ready instruments of belief, 
which alone Providence had put into their power ? On 
such philosophy as this, were it generally received, no 
great work ever would have been done for God's glory 
and the welfare of man. The "enthusiasm" against 
which Locke writes may do much harm, and act at times 
absurdly ; but calculation never made a hero. However, 
it is not to our present purpose to examine this theory, 
and I have done so elsewhere. 2 Here I have but to show 
the unanimity of Catholics,, ancient as well as modern, in 
their absolute rejection of it. 


For instance, it is tho very objection urged by Celsus, 
that Christians wore but parallel to the credulous victims 
of jvgglers or of devotees, who itinerated through the 
pagan population* He says "that some do not even wish 
to give or to receive a reason for their faith, but say, 'Do 
not inquire but believe/ and ' Thy faith will save thee ;' 
and 'A bad thing is the world's wisdom, and foolishness 
is a good/ " How does Origen answer the charge ? by 

* University Sermons [but, more carefully in tho "Essay on Assent"]. 


denying the fact, and speaking of the reason of each 
individual as demonstrating the divinity of the Scriptures, 
and Faith as coming after that argumentative process, as 
it is now popular to maintain ? Ear from it ; he grants 
the fact alleged against the Church and defends it. He 
observes that, considering the engagements and the neces- 
sary ignorance of the multitude of men, it is a very 
happy circumstance that a substitute is provided for those 
philosophical exercises, whidh Christianity allows and 
encourages, but does not impose on the individual. 
"Which, he asks, "is the better, for them to believe 
without reason, and thus to reform any how and gain a 
benefit, from their belief in the punishment of sinners and 
the reward of well-doers, or to refuse to be converted on 
mere belief, or except they devote themselves to an in- 
tellectual inquiry ? " 3 Such a provision then is a mark 
of divine wisdom and mercy. In like manner, St. Ire- 
neeus, after observing that the Jews had the evidence of 
prophecy, which the Gentiles had not, and that to the 
latter it was a foreign teaching and a new doctrine to be 
told that the gods of the Gentiles were not only not gods, 
but were idols of devils, and that in consequence St. Paul 
laboured more upon them, as needing it more, adds, "On 
the other hand, the faith of the Gentiles is thereby shown 
to be more generous, who followed the word of God with- 
out the assistance of Scriptures." To believe on less 
evidence was generous faith, not enthusiasm. And so 
again, Eusebius, while he contends of course that Chris- 
tians are influenced by " no irrational faith/' that is, by 
a faith which is capable of a logical basis, fully allows 
that in the individual believing, it is not necessarily or 
ordinarily based upon argument, and maintains that it is 
connected with that very "hope/' and inclusively with 
that desire of the things beloved, which Locke in the above 
8 o. Cels. i. 9. 


extract considers incompatible with the love of truth. 
" What do we find/' he says, " but that the whole life of 
man is suspended on these two, hope and faith ? " * 

I do not mean of course that the Fathers were opposed 
to inquiries into the intellectual basis of Christianity, but 
that they held that men were not obliged to wait for logical 
proof before believing ; on the contrary, that the majority 
were to believe first on presumptions and let the intellectual 
proof come as oheir reward. 5 


St. Augustine, who had tried both ways, strikingly 
contrast them in his De Utiltiafe credendi, though his 
direct object in that work is to decide, not between Reason 
and Faith, but between lieason and Authority. He 
addresses in it a very clear frioud, who, like himself, had 
become a Manichec, but who, with less happiness than his 
own, was still retained in the heresy. " The Manichees," 
he observos, " iuvoigh against those who, following the 
authority of the Catholic faith, fortify themselves in the 
first instance with believing, and before they are able to* 
set eyes upon that truth, which is discerned by the pure 
BOU], prepare themselves for a God who shall illuminate. 
You, llonoratus, know that nothing else was the cause of 
my falling into their hands, than their professing to put 
away Authority which was KO terrible, and by absolute and 
simple Keason to lead their hcurors to God's presence, and 
to rid them of all error. For what was there else that 
forced me, for nearly nine yearn, to slight the religion which 
was sown in me wliou a child by my parents, and to follow 
them and diligently attend their lectures, but their asser- 
tion that I was terrified by superstition, and was bidden 

4 IIwp. iv. 24 EURO!). Prroj). "Ev. 5. 5, 

* [This is fcoo lartf a Huhjcct to admit of justice toeing done to it hero: I 
have treated of it ut length in the ** Iteiy cm Ascut,"] 

. I. 2.] THE SUPREMACY 03? FAITH. 331 

to have Faith before I had Reason, whereas they pressed 
no one to believe before the truth had been discussed and 
unravelled? Who would not be seduced by these promises 
and especially a youth, such as they found me then, de- 
sirous of truth, nay conceited and forward, by reason of the 
disputations of certain men of school learning, with a con- 
tempt of old- wives* tales, and a desire of possessing and 
drinking that clear and unmixed truth which they pro- 
mised me ? " 6 

Presently he goes on to describe how he was reclaimed. 
He found the Manichees more successful in pulling dowa 
than in building up; he was disappointed in Faustus, 
whom he found eloquent and nothing besides. Upon this, 
he did not know what to hold, and was tempted to a 
general scepticism. At length he found he must be guided 
by Authority ; then came the question, "Which authority 
among so many teachers ? He cried earnestly to God for 
help, and at last was led to the Catholic Church. He 
then returns to the question urged against that Church, 
that " she bids those who come to her believe," whereas 
heretics "boast that they do not impose a yoke of be- 
lieving, but open a fountain of teaching." On which he 
observes, " True religion cannot in any manner be rightly 
embraced, without a belief in those things which each in- 
dividual afterwards attains and perceives, if he behave 
himself well and shall deserve it, nor altogether without 
some weighty and imperative Authority/*' 7 


These are specimens of the teaching of the Ancient 
Church on the subject of Faith and Reason ; if, on the 
other hand, we would know what has been taught on the 
subject in those modern schools, in and through which 
the subsequent developments of Catholic doctrines have 
6 luit. 7 Vid. also supr p. 256. 


proceeded, we may turn to the extracts made from their 
writings by Huet, in his " Essay on the Human Under- 
standing ;" and, in so doing, we need not perplex ourselves 
with the particular theory, true or not, for the sake of 
which he has collected them. Speaking of the weakness of 
the Understanding, Huet says, 

" God, by His goodness, repairs this defect of human 
nature, by granting us the inestimable gift of Faith, 
which confirms our staggering Reason, and corrects that 
perplexity of doubts which we must bring to the know- 
lodge of things. For example : my reason not being 
able to inform me with absolute evidence, and perfect 
certainty, whether there aro bodies, what was the origin 
of the world, and many other like things, after I had 
received the Faith, all those doubts vanish, as darkness at 
the rising of the sun. This made St. Thomas Aquinas 
bay: 'It is necessary for man to receive as articles of 
Faith, not only the things which are above Reason, but 
even those that for their certainty may be known by 
Reason. For human Reason is very deficient in things 
divine ; a sign of which we have from philosophers, who, 
iu the search of human things by natural methods, have 
been deceived, and opposed each other on many heads. 
To the end then that men may have a certain and un- 
doubted cognizance of God, it was necessary things divine 
should be taught them by way of Faith, as being revealed 

of God Himself, who cannot lie/ 8 

"Then St. Thomas adds afterwards: 'No search by 
natural Reason is sufficient to make man know things 
divine, nor even those which wo can prove by Reason/ 
And in another place ho speakn thus : 'Things which may 
be proved demonstratively, as the Being of God, the Unity 
of the Godhead, and other points, are placed among articles 
we are to believe, because piovious to other things that 

* pp. 142, 143, Combo's ir. 


are of Faith ; and these must be presupposed, at least by 
such as have no demonstration of them. 


"What St. Thomas says of the cognizance of divine 
things extends also to the knowledge of human, according 
to the doctrine of Suarez. ' We often correct/ he says, 
* the light of Nature by the light of Faith, even in things 
which seem to be first principles, as appears in this: 
those things that are the same to a third,, are the same 
between themselves ; which, if we have respect to the 
Trinity, ought to be restrained to finite things. And in 
other mysteries, especially in those of the Incarnation and 
the Eucharist, we use many other limitations, that nothing 
may be repugnant to the Faith. This is then an indica- 
tion that the light of Faith is most certain, because 
founded on the first truth, which is God, to whom it's more 
impossible to deceive or be deceived than for the natural 
science of man to be mistaken and erroneous/ 9 . . . 

"If we hearken not to Reason, say you, you overthrow 
that great foundation of Eeligion which E,eason has 
established in our understanding, viz. God is. To answer 
this objection, you must be told that men know God in 
two manners. By Reason, with entire human certainty,; 
and by Faith, with absolute and divine certainty. Al- 
though by Reason we cannot acquire any knowledge more 
certain than that of the Being of God ; insomuch that all 
the arguments, which the impious oppose to this know- 
ledge are of no validity and easily refuted ; nevertheless 
this certainty is not absolutely perfect l 


" Now although, to prove the existence of the Deity, we 
can bring arguments which, accumulated and connected 
pp. 144, 145. 1 P. 219. 


together, are not of less power to convince men than 
geometrical principles, and theorems deduced from them, 
and which are of entire human certainty, notwithstand- 
ing, because learned philosophers have openly opposed 
even these principles, 'tis clear we cannot, neither in the 
natural knowledge we have of God, which is acquired by 
Reason, nor in science founded on geometrical principles 
and theorems, find absolute and consummate certainty, 
but only that human certainty I have spoken of, to which 
nevertheless every wise man ought to submit his under- 
standing. This being not repugnant io the testimony of 
the Book of Wisdom and the Epistle to the Romans, 
which declares that men who do not from the make of the 
world acknowledge the power and divinity of the Maker 
are senseless and inexcusable. . 

te For to use the terms of Vasquoz : * By these words the 
Holy Scripture means only that there has ever been a 
sufficient testimony of the Being of a God in the fabrick 
of the world, and in His other works, to make Him known 
unto men: but the Scripture is not under any concern 
whether this knowledge bo evident or of greatest proba- 
bility ; for these terms are seen and understood, iu their 
common and usual acceptation, to signify all the knowledge 
of the mind with a determined assent/ He adds after: 
* For if any one should at this time deny Christ, that 
which would render him inexcusable would not be because 
lie might have had an evident knowledge and reason for 
believing Him, but because ho might have believed it by 
Faith and a prudential knowledge/ 

"'Tis with reason then that Snares; teaches that f the 
natural evidence of this principle, God is the first truth, 
who cannot be deceived, is not necessary, nor sufficient 
enough to make us believe by infused Faith, what God 
reveals/ He proves, by the testimony of experience, that 
it is not necessary ; for ignorant and illiterate Christians, 


though they know nothing clearly and certainly of God, 
do believe nevertheless that God is. Even Christians of 
parts and' learning, as St. Thomas has observed, believe 
that God is, before they know it by Reason. Suarez 
shows afterwards that the natural evidence of this princi- 
ple is not sufficient, because divine Faith, which is infused 
into our understanding, cannot be bottomed upon human 
faith alone, how clear and firm soever it is, as upon a 
formal object, because an assent most firm, and of an 
order most noble and exalted, cannot derive its certainty 
from a more infirm assent. 2 .* . . . 


" As touching the motives of credibility, which, pre- 
paring the mind to receive Faith, ought according to you 
to be not only certain by supreme and human certainty, "but 
by supreme and absolute certainty,! will oppose Gabriel Biel 
to you, who pronounces that to receive Faith 'tis sufficient 
that the motives of credibility be proposed as probable. Do 
you believe that children, illiterate, gross, ignorant people, 
who have scarcely the use of Reason, and notwithstanding 
have received the gift of Faith, do most clearly and 
most steadfastly conceive those forementioned motives of 
credibility? No, without doubt; but the grace of God 
comes in to their assistance, and sustains the imbecility of 
Nature and Reason. 

" This is the common opinion of divines. Reason has 
need of divine grace, not only in gross, illiterate persons, 
but even in those of parts and learning ; for how clear- 
sighted soever that may be, yet it cannot make us have 
Faith, if celestial light does not illuminate us within, 
because, as I have said already, divine Faith being of a 
superior order cannot derive its efficacy from human 

a pp. 221, 223. 



faith. 3 ..... "This is likewise the doctrine of St. 
Thomas Aquinas : ' The light of Faith makes things seen 
that are believed/ He says moreover, ' Believers have 
knowledge of the things of Faith, not in a demonstrative 
way, but so as by the light of Faith it appears to them 
that they ought to be believed.' " * 


It is evident what a 'special influence such doctrine as 
this must exert upon the theological method of those who 
hold it. Arguments will come to be considered as sug- 
gestions and guides rather than logical proofs; and 
developments as the slow, spontaneous, ethical growth, 
not the scientific and compulsory results, of existing 


I have spoken and have still to spoak of the action of 
logic, implicit and explicit, as a safeguard, and thereby a 
note, of legitimate developments of doctrine : but I am 
regarding it hero as that continuous tradition and habit 
in tho Church of a scientific analysis of all revealed truth, 
which is an ecclesiastical principle rather than a note of 
any kind, as not merely bearing upon the process of 
development, but applying to all religious teaching 
equally, and which is almost unknown beyond the pale 
of Christendom. Reason, thus considered, is subservient 
to faith, as handling, examining, explaining, recording, 
cataloguing, defending, the truths which faith, not 
reason, has gained for us, as providing an intellectual 
expression of supernatural facts, eliciting what is implicit, 
comparing, measuring, connecting each with each, and 
forming one and all into a theological system. 

pp. 229, 230, * pp. 230, 231. 

SECJ. I. 3.] THEOLOGY. 337 


The first step in theology is investigation, an investi* 
gation arising out of the lively interest and devout welcome 
which the matters investigated claim of us ; and, if 
Scripture teaches us the duty of faith, it teaches quite as 
distinctly that loving inquisitiveness which is the life of 
the Sehola. It attributes that temper both to the Blessed 
Virgin and to the Angels. The Angels are said to have 
" desired to look into the mysteries of Revelation," and it 
is twice recorded of Mary that she " kept these things and 
pondered them in her heart/' Moreover, her words to the 
Archangel, " How shall this be f " show that there is a 
questioning in matters revealed to us compatible with the 
fullest and most absolute faith. It has sometimes been, 
said in defence and commendation of heretics that " their 
misbelief at least showed that they had thought upon the 
subject of religion ;" this is an unseemly paradox, at the 
same time there certainly is the opposite extreme of a readi- 
ness to receive anynumber of dogmas at a minute's warning, 
which, when it is witnessed, fairly creates a suspicion that 
they are merely professed with the tongue, not intelligently 
held. Our Lord gives no countenance to such lightness of 
mind ; He calls on His disciples to use their reason, and 
to submit it. K"athanae?s question " Can there any good 
thing come out of Nazareth ? " did not prevent our Lord's 
praise of him as " an Israelite without guile." Nor did 
He blame Ficodemus, except for want of theological 
knowledge, on his asking "How can these things be?" 
Even towards St. Thomas He was gentle, as if towards one 
of those who had " eyes too tremblingly awake to bear with 
dimness for His sake." In like manner He praised the cen- 
turion when he argued himself into a confidence of divine 
help and relief from the analogy of his own profession ; and 
left his captious enemies to prove for themselves from the 



mission of the Baptist His own mission ; and a^kocl them 
" if David called Him Lord, how was He his Son?'' and, 
when His disciples wished to ha\e a particular matter 
taught them, chid them for their want of " understanding." 
And these are but some out of the various instances which 
He gives us of the same lesson. 


Reason has ever "beon awake and in exercise in the 
Church after Him from the finst. Scarcely woro the 
Apostles withdrawn from the world, when the Martyr 
Ignatius, in his way to the Jlonum Amphitheatre, wrote 
his strikingly theological Kpwtlos ; ho was folio wool by 
Irenscus, Ilippolytus, and Tcrtullian ; thus we are brought 
to the age of Athanasius and his contemporaries, and to 
Augustine. Then we pass on by Aluxizmis and John 
Damascene to the Middle age, when theology was made still 
more scientific by the Schoolmen. ; nor has it Iwcomo less 
so, bypassing on from St. Thomiw to the groat Jesuit 
writers fcSuurez and Vasquez, and then to Lambei'tmi. 

4. Scripture and Us Myutml Interpretation. 

Several passages have occurred m tlio foregoing Chap- 
ters, which serve to suggent an oilier principle on which 
Homo words are now to bo Haid. Theodore's excluwivo 
adoption of the literal, uud repudiation of the inywtical 
interpretation of Holy Scripture, leacln to the consideration 
of the latter, as one of the characteristic conditions or 
principles on which the teaching of the Church IWH ever 
proceeded. Thus Christianity developed, as wo havo 
incidentally seen, into tho form, first, of a Catholic, then of 
a Papal Church. Now it was Scripture that was made the 
rule on which this development proceeded in each cane, atid 
Scripture moreover interpreted in a mystical acnao ; and, 


whereas at first certain texts were inconsistently confined to 
the letter, and a Millennium was in consequence expected, 
ihe very course of events, as time went on, interpreted the 
prophecies about the Church more truly, and that first in 
respect of her prerogative as occupying the orlis terrarwn, 
next in support of the claims of the See of St. Peter. 
This is but one specimen of a certain law of Christian 
teaching, which is this, a reference to Scripture through- 
out, and especially in its mystical sense. 5 


1. This is a characteristic which will become more and 
more evident to us, the more we look for it. The divines 
of the Church are in every age engaged in regulating 
themselves by Scripture, app?aling to Scripture in proof 
of their conclusions, and exhorting and teaching in the 
thoughts and language of Scripture. Scripture may be 
said to be the medium in which the mind of the Church 
has energized and developed. 6 When St. Methodius would 
enforce the doctrine of vows of celibacy, he refers to the 
book of -Numbers; and if St. Irenseus proclaims the 
dignity of St. Mary, it is from a comparison of St. Luke's 
Gospel with Genesis. And thus St. Cyprian, in his 
Testimonies, rests the prerogatives of martyrdom, as 

* Vid. Proph. Offic. Lccfc. xiii. [Via Media, vol. i. p. 809, &c.] 

* A late writer gous farther, and maintains that it is not determined by 
the Council of Tivnt, whether the whole of the Revelation is in Scripture 
or not. "The Synod declares that the Christian 'truth and discipline are 
contained in viritton books and unwritten traditions.' They were well 
awaro that the controversy then was, whether the Christian doctrine was 
only in'part conta-m-d in Scripture. Bat they did not dare to frame their 
decree openly in accordance with the modern Komish view; they did not 
venture to ufliran, as they might easily have done, that the Christian verity 
'was contained partly in written hooks, and partly in unwritten tradi- 
tions/" Palmer on the Church, voL 2, p. 15. Vid. Difficulties of Angl 
vol. ii. pp. 11, 12. 

z 2 


indeed the whole circle of Christian doctrine, on the 
declaration of certain texts ; and, when in his letter to 
Antonian he seems to allude to Purgatory, he refers to our 
Lord's words about "the prison" and "paying the last 
farthing/' And if St. Ignatius exhorts to unity, it is from 
St. Paul ; and he quotes St. Luke against the Phantasiasts 
of his day. We have a first instance of this law in the 
Epistle of St. Polycarp, and a last in the practical works 
of St, Alphonso Liguori. St. Cyprian, or St. Ambrose, or 
St. Bede, or St. Bernard, or St. Carlo, or such popular 
books as Ilorstius's Paradigm Anhnce, are specimens of a 
rule which is too obvious to need formal proof. It is 
exemplified in the theological decisions of St, Athanasius 
in the fourth century, and of St. Thomas in the thirteenth ; 
in the structure of the Canon Law, and in the Bulls and 
Letters of Popes. It is instanced in the notion so long 
prevalent in the Church, which philosophers of this day 
do not allow us to forget, that all truth, all science, must 
be derived from the inspired volume. And it is recognised 
as well as exemplified ; recognized as distinctly by writers 
of the Society of Josus, as it is copiously exemplified by 
the Ante-niceno Fathers. 


" Scriptures are called canonical," says Salmeron, " as 
having been received and set apart by the Church into the 
Canon of sacred books, and because they are to us a rule 
of right belief and good living ; also because they ought 
to rule and moderate all other doctrines, laws, writings, 
whether ecclesiastical, apocryphal, or human. For as these 
agree with them, or at least do not disagree, so far are 
they admitted ; but they are repudiated and reprobated so 
far as they differ from thorn oven in the least matter " 7 
Again ; " The main subject of Scripture is nothing else 

7 Opp. 1. 1, p. 4. 


than to treat of the God-Man, or the Man- God, Christ 
Jesus, not only in the New Testament, which is open, but 

in the Old For whereas Scripture contains 

nothing but the precepts of belief and conduct, or faith, 
and works, the end and the means towards it, the Creator 
and the creature, lore of God and our neighbour, creation 
and redemption, and whereas all these are found in Christ, 
it follows that Christ is the proper subject of Canonical 
Scripture. For all matters of faith, whether concerning 
Creator or creatures, are recapitulated in Jesus, whom 
every heresy denies, according to that text, * Every spirit 
that divides (soMt) Jesus is not of God ;' for He as man is 
united to the Godhead, and as God to the manhood, to 
the Father from whom He is born, to the Holy Ghost who 
proceeds at once from Christ and the Father, to Mary his 
most Holy Mother, to the Church, to Scriptures, Sacra- 
ments, Saints, Angels, the Blessed, to Divine Grace, to 
the authority and ministers of the Church, so that it is 
rightly said that every heresy divides Jesus/ 5 8 And again : 
" Holy Scripture is so fashioned and composed by the Holy 
Ghost as to be accommodated to all plans, times, persons, 
difficulties, dangers, diseases, the expulsion of evil, the 
obtaining of good, the stifling of errors, the establishment 
of doctrines, the ingrafting of virtues, the averting of 
vices. Hence it is deservedly compared by St. Basil to a 
dispensary which supplies various medicines against every 
complaint. From it did the Church in the age of Martyrs 
draw her firmness and fortitude ; in the age of Doctors, 
her wisdom and light of knowledge ; in the time of 
heretics, the overthrow of error-; in time of prosperity, 
numility and moderation; fervour and diligence, in a 
lukewarm time ; and in times of depravity and growing 
abuse, reformation from, corrupt living and return to the 
first estate/' 9 

8 Opp. t. i. pp. 4, 5. * Ibid. p. 9. 




Holy Scripture," says Cornelius i\ Lapide, " contains 
the beginnings of all theology: for theolojy is nothing 
but the science of conclusions which are diawn from 
principles certain to faith, and therefore is of all sciences 
most august as well as certain; but the principles of faith 
and faith itself dotli Scripture contain ; whence it evidently 
follows that Holy Scripture lays down those principles of 
theology by which the theologian begets of the mind's 
reasoning his demonstrations. Ho, then, who thinks he 
can tear away Scholastic Science from the work of 
commenting on Holy Scripture is hoping for offspring 
without a mother.*' l Ag-iin : " What is the subject- 
matter of Scripture ? Must I say it in a word ? Its aim 
is cle omttiscibill; it embraces in its bosom all studies, all 
that can be known : and thus it is a certain university of 
sciences containing all sciences either ' formally 9 or 
c eminently/ " * 

Nor ami aware that later Post-truiontino writers deny 
tlittt the whole Catholic faith may be proved from Scrip- 
ture, though they would certainly maintain that it is not 
to be found on the surface of it, nor in such sense that ifc 
may be gained from Scripture without the aid of Tradition. 


2. And this has been tho doctrine of all ages of the 
Church, as is shown by tho disinclination of her teachers 
to confine themselves to the more literal interpretation of 
Scripture. Her most subtle and powerful method of proof, 
whether in ancient or modern times, is tine mystical sense, 
which is so frequently used in doctrinal controversy as on 
many occasions to supersede any other. Thus tho Council 
of Trent appeals to the peaoo-offeriug spoken of in Malachi 
i Proem, 5. * p. 4u 


in proof of tlie Eucharistic Sacrifice; to the water and 
blood issuing from our Lord's side, and to the mention of 
"waters" in the Apocalypse, in admonishing on the 
subject of the mixture of water with the wine in the 
Oblation, Thus Bellarmine defends Monastic celibacy by 
our Lord's words in Matthew xix., and refers to " We 
went through fire and water," &c. ; in the Psalm, as an 
argument for Purgatory ; and these, as is plain, are but 
specimens of a rule. Now, on turning to primitive con- 
troversy, we find this method of interpretation to be the 
very basis of the proof of the Catholic doctrine of the 
Holy Trinity- Whether we betake ourselves to the Ante- 
niccne writers or the Nicene, certain texts will meet us, 
which do not obviously refer to that doctrine, yet are put 
forward as palmary proofs of it. Such are, in respect of our 
Lord's divinity, " My heart is inditing of a good matter/' 
or "has burst forth with a good Word;" "The Lord 
made " or "possessed Me in the beginning of His ways ;" 
"I was with Him, in whom He delighted;" "In Thy 
Light shall we see Light;" "Who shall declare His 
generation ? " She is the Breath of the Power of God f 
and " His Eternal Power and Godhead." 

On the other hand, the School of Antioch, which adopted 
the literal interpretation, was, as I have noticed above, the 
very metropolis of heresy. Not to speak of Lueian, whose 
history is but imperfectly known, (one of the first masters 
of this school, and also teacher of Arius and his principal 
supporters), Diodorus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who 
were the most eminent masters of literalism in the succeed- 
ing generation, were, as we have seen, the forerunners of 
Nestorianism. The case had been the same in a still 
earlier age ; the Jews clung to the literal sense of the 
Scriptures and hence rejected the Gospel; the Christian 
Apologists proved its divinity by means of the allegorical. 
The formal connexion of this mode of interpretation with 


Christian theology is noticed by Porphyry, who speaks of 
Origen and others as borrowing it from heathen philosophy, 
both in explanation of the Old Testament and in defence 
of their own doctrine. It may be almost laid down as an 
historical fact, that the mystical interpretation and ortho- 
doxy will stand or fall together 


This is clearly seen, as regards the primitive theology,, 
by a recent writer, in the course of a Dissertation upon 
St. Ephrem. After observing that Theodore of Iloraclea, 
Eusebius, and Diodorus gave a systematic opposition to the 
mystical interpretation, which had a sort of sanction from 
Antiquity and the orthodox Church, he proceeds ; " Ephrem 
is not as sober in his interpretations, nor could it IP, since 
he was a zealous disciple of the orthodox faith. For all 
those who are most eminent in such sobriety wore as far 

as possible removed from the faith of tho Councils 

On the other hand, all who retained the faith of tho Church 
never entirely dispensed with the spiritual souse of the 
Scriptures. For the Councils- watched over tho orthodox 
faith ; nor was it safe in those gfR, as we learn especially 
from the instance of Theodore of Mopsuestia, to desert tho 
spiritual for an exclusive cultivation of the literal method* 
Moreover, the allegorical interpretation, even when tho 
literal sense was not injured, was also preserved ; because 
in thoso times* when both heretics and Jews in controversy 
were stubborn in tlieir objections to Christian doctrine, 
maintaining that the Messiah was yet to come, or denying 
the abrogation of the Sabbath and ceremonial law, or 
ridiculing the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and 
eppecially that of Christ's Divine Nature, under such 
circumstances ecclesiastical writers- found it to their 
purpose, in answer to such exceptions, violently to refer 


every part of Scripture by allegory to .Christ and His 
Church." 3 


With this passage from a learned German, illustrating 
the bearing of the allegorical method upon the Judaic and 
Athanasian controversies, it will be well to compare the 
following passage from the latitudinarian Hale's u Golden 
Remains/' as directed against the theology of Rome. 
"The literal, plain, and uncontroversible meaning of 
Scripture," he says, "without any addition or supply by 
way of interpretation, is that alone which for ground of 
faith we are necessarily bound to accept; except it be 
there, where the Holy Ghost Himself treads us out another 
way. I take not this to be any particular conceit of mine, 
but that unto which our Church stands necessarily bound. 
"When we receded from the Church of Rome, one motive was, 
because she added unto Scripture her glosses as Canonical, 
to supply what the plain text of Scripture could not yield. 
If, in place of hers, we set up our own glosses, thus to do 
were nothing else but to pull down Baal, and set up an 
Ephod, to run round and meet the Church of Rome again 
in the same point in which at first we left her. . . . This 
doctrine of the literal sense was never grievous or pre- 
judicial to any, but only to those who were inwardly con- 
scious that their positions were not sufficiently grounded. 
When Cardinal Cajetan, in the days of our grandfathers, 
had forsaken that vein of postilling and allegorizing on 
Scripture, which for a long time had prevailed in the 
Church, and betaken himself unto the literal sense, it was 
a thing so distasteful unto the Church of Rome that he 
was forced to find out many shifts and make many apo- 
logies for himself. The truth is (as it will appear to him 
that reads his writings), this sticking close to the literal 

3 Lengerke, de Epbr. S. pp. 7880. 


sense was that alone which made him to shake off many of 
those tenets upon which the Church, of Home and the 
reformed Churches differ. But when the importunity of 
the Reformers, and the great credit of Calvin's writings in 
that kind, had forced the divines of Homo to level their 
interpretations by the same line; when they saw that no 
pains, no subtlety of wife was strong enough to defeat the 
literal evidence of Scripture, it drove them on thoso 
desperate shoals, on which at this day they stick, to call 
in question, as far as they durst, the credit of the Hebrew 
text, and countenance against it a corrupt translation; 
to add traditions unto Scripture, and to make the Church's 
interpretation, so pretended, to be above exception/' ' 4 


TIo presently adds concerning the allegorical sense : " If 
we absolutely condemn these interpretations, then must 
we condemn a great part of Antiquity, who are very much 
conversant in this kind of interpreting. For the most 
partial for Antiquity cannot choose but see find confer 
thus much, that lor the literal sense, the interpreters of 
our own times, because of their skill in the original 
languages, their euro of pressing- the circumstances and 
coherence of the text, of comparing like places of Scripture 
with liko, have generally surpassed the bent of the 
ancients." 5 

The use of Scripture then, especially its spiritual or 
second seTwe, as a medium of thought and deduction, is 
a characteristic principle of doctrinal teaching in the 

5. Dogma. 

1. That opinions in religion arc not .matters of in- 
difference, but have a definite bearing on the position of 
l)i>.l-2G. * p. 27. 

SECT, I. 5.] DOGMA. 847 

their holders- in the Divine Sight, is a principle on which , 
the Evangelical Faith has from the first developed, and on 
which that Faith has been the first to develope. I suppose, 
it hardly had any exercise tinder the Law ; the zeal and 
obedience of the ancient people being mainly employed in 
the maintenance of divine worship and the overthrow of 
idolatry, not in the action of the intellect. Fail h is in this, 
as in other respects, a characteristic of the Gospel, except 
so far as it was anticipated, as its time drew near. Elijah 
and the prophets down to Ezra resisted Baal or restored 
the Temple Service ; the Three Children refused to bow 
down befpre the golden image ; Daniel would turn his face 
towards Jerusalem; the Maccabees spurned the Grecian 
paganism. On the other hand, the Greek Philosophers 
were authoritative indeed in their teaching, enforced the 
" Ipse dixit" and demanded the faith of their disciples ; 
but they did not commonly attach sanctity or reality to 
opinions, or view them in a religious light. Our Saviour 
was the first to "bear witness to the Truth," and to die 
for it, when " before Pontius Pilate he witnessed a good 
confession." St. John and St. Paul, following his example, 
both pronounce anathema on those who denied " the 
Truth " or " brought in another Gospel." Tradition tells 
us that the Apostle of love seconded his word with his 
deed, and on one occasion hastily quitted a bath because 
an heresiarch of the day had entered it. St. Ignatius, his 
contemporary, compares false teachers to raging dogs; 
and St. Polycarp, his disciple, exercised the same severity 
upon Marcion which St. John had shown towards Ce- 


St. Irenseus after St. Polycarp exemplifies the same 
doctrine : " I saw thee," he says to the heretic Florinus, 
" when I was yet a boy, in lower Asia, with Polycarp, 


when thou wast living splendidly in the Imperial Court, 
and trying to recommend thyself to him. I remember 
indeed what then happened better than more recent occur- 
rences, for the lessons of boyhood grow with the mind and 
become one with it. Thus I can name the place where 
blessed Polycarp sat and conversed, and his goings out 
and comings in, and the fashion of his life, and the 
appearance of his person, and his discourses to the people, 
and his familiarity with John, which he used to tell of, 
and with the rest who hud soon the Lord, and how he used 
to repeat their words, and what it was that he had learned 
about the Lord from them. , . . And in the si#htof God, 
I can protest, that, if that blessed and apostolical Elder 
had heard aught of this doctrine, he had eriod out arid 
stopped his cars, saying after his wont, c O Good God, for 
what times hast thou rcsorvod mo that I should ondure 
this ? J and lie had fled the place whore ho was Hitting or 
standing when he heard it." It seems to have boon the 
duty of every individual Christian from tlio first to witness 
in his place against all opinions which woro contrary to 
what he had received in his baptismal catoeliissing, and to 
shun the society of those who maintained thorn, "So 
religious/' says TrenaJiis after giving his account of St* 
Polycarp, "were the Apostles and their disciples, in not 
even conversing with, those who counterfeited the truth/' 6 


Such a principle, howovcr, would but havo broken tip 
the Church the sooner, rowolving it into the individuals 
of which it was composed, unless the Truth, to which they 
wore to bear witness, had boon a something dolinito, and 
formal, and independent of tliornselveH. Christians worn 
bound to defend and to transmit the faith which they had 
received, and they received it from the rulers of tlio 
b. Hint, iv, 14, v. 20* 

SECT. I. 5.] DOGMA.. 349 

Church ; and, on the other hand, it was the duty of those 
rulers to watch over and define this traditionary faith. It 
is unnecessary to go over ground which has "been traversed 
so often of late years. St. Ireneeus hrings the subject 
before us in his description of St. Polycarp, part of which 
has already been quoted ; and to ifc we may limit ourselves. 
" Polycarp/' he says when writing against the Gnostics, 
" whom we have seen in our first youth, ever taught those 
lessons which he learned from the Apostles, which the 
Church also transmits, which alone are true. All the 
Churches of Asia bear witness to them ; and the successors 
of Polycarp down to this day, who is a much more trust- 
worthy and sure witness of truth than Valentinus, Marcion, 
or their perverse companions. The same was in Rome in 
the time of Anicetus, and converted many of the afore- 
named heretics to the Church of God, preaching that he 
had received from the Apostles this one and only truth, 
which had been transmitted by the Church/' 7 

Nor was this the doctrine and practice of one school only, 
which might be ignorant of philosophy; the cultivated 
minds of the Alexandrian Fathers, who are said to owe so 
much to Pagan science, certainly showed no gratitude or 
reverence towards their alleged instructors, but maintained 
the supremacy of Catholic Tradition. Clement 8 speaks of 
heretical teachers as perverting Scripture, and essaying the 
gate of heaven with a "false key, not raising the veil, as he 
and his, by means of tradition from Christ, but digging 
through the Church's wall, and becoming mystagogues of 
misbelief ; " for/' he continues, "few words are enough to 
prove that they have formed their human assemblies later 
than the Catholic Church/' and "from that previously 
existing and most true Church it is very clear that these 
f Contr. Ha. iii. 3, 4. * Ed. Potter, p. 897. 


later heresies, and others which have been since, are coun- 
terfeit and novel inventions." 9 " When the Marcionites, 
Valentinians, and the like/* says Origon, "appeal to 
apocryphal works, they aro saying, ' Christ is in the 
desert / when to canonical Scripture, c Lo, He is in tl e 
chambers ;' but we must not depart from that first and 
ecclesiastical tradition, nor believe otherwise than as the 
Churches of God by succession have transmitted to us." 
And it is recorded of him in his youth, that ho never could 
bo brought to attend the prayers of a heretic who was in 
the house of hLs patroness, from abomination of his doctrine, 
"observing/' adds Eusobiua, "the rule of the Church/' 
Eusebius too himself, unsatisfactory as is his own theology, 
cannot break from this fundamental rule ; he ever spoaks 
of the Gnostic teaohors, the chief horetics of his period 
(at least before the rise of Arianism), in terms most expres- 
sive of abhorrence and disgust. 


The Afriflrm, Syrian, and Asian Puliools are additional 
witnesses; Tertulliun at Carthago was stronuous for the 
dogmatic principle even after ho had given up tho tra- 
ditional. The Fathers of Asia Minor, who excommuni- 
cated Noelus, rehearse the Creed, and add, "Wo declare 
as wo have learned ;" the Fulhers of Antioch, who depose 
Paul of fS.unosata, set down in writing the Creed from 
Scripture, "which," thoy wiy, ** we received from the 
beginning;, mid havc\ by tradition and in, custody, iu tho 
Catholic mid Holy (Jhuvch, until tliis day, by succession, 
as preached by tho blessotl Apostles, who were eye-witnesses 
and ministers of the "Word/* l 

Krt. Potter, p. 809. 

1 Olero. 81 nun. vii. 17. Origrni inMnttb. Coinm. Sor. 40. Eusob, Hist, 
vi, 2, flu. Eyiph, Hcur. 57, p. 4&Q, Houtb, t, 2, p '!(5r>. 

SECT. I. 5.] DOGMA, 351 


Moreover, it is as plain, or even plainer, that what the 
Christians of the first ages anathematized, included deduc- 
tions from the Articles of Faith, that is, false developments, 
as well as contradictions of those Articles. And, since the 
reason they commonly gave for using the anathema was that 
the doctrine in question was strange and startling, it follows 
that the truth, which was its contradictory, was also in some 
respect unknown to them hitherto ; which is also shown by 
their temporary perplexity, and their difficulty of meeting 
heresy, in particular cases. " Who ever heard the like 
hitherto ? " says Si Athanasius, of Apoliinarianism ; 
" who was the teacher of it, who the hearer ? * From Sion 
shall go forth the Law of Grod, and the "Word of the Lord 
from Jerusalem ; * but from whence hath this gone forth ? 
What hell hath burst out with it?" The Fathers at 
ISTicsea stopped their ears ; and St. Irensous, as above quoted, 
says that St. Polycarp, had he heard the Gnostic blasphe- 
mies, would have stopped his ears, and deplored the times 
for which he was reserved. They anathematized the 
doctrine, not because it was old, but because it was new : 
the anathema would have altogether slept, if it could 
not have been extended to propositions not anathematized 
in the beginning ; for the very characteristic of heresy is 
this novelty and originality of manifestation. 

Such was the exclusiveness of Christianity of old : I need 
not insist on the steadiness with which that principle has 
been maintained ever since, for bigotry and intolerance 
is one of the ordinary charges brought at this day against 
both the medieval Church and the modern. 


The Church's consistency and thoroughness in teaching is 
another aspect of the same principle, as is illustrated ia the 



following passage from M. Guizot's History of Civilization. 
" The adversaries/' he says, " of the Information, knew 
very well what they were about, and what they required ; 
they could point to their first principles, and boldly admit 
all the consequences that might result from them. No 
government was ever more consistent and systematic than 
that of the Romish Church. In fact, the Court of Rome 
was much more accommodating, yielded much more 
than the Reformers; but in principle it much more 
completely adopted its own system, and maintained a 
much more consistent conduct. There is an immense 
power in this full confidence of what ia done; this 
perfect knowledge of what is required ; this complete 
and rational adaptation of a system and a creed/' Then 
he goes on to the history of the Society of Jesus in illus- 
tration. " Evci^ything," he says, " was unfavourable to 
tho Jesuits, both fortune and appearances ; neither prac- 
tical sense which requires success, nor the imagination 
which looks for splendour, wore gratified by their destiny. 
Still it is certain that they possessed the elements of great- 
DORR; a grand idea is attached to their name, to their 
influence, and to their hiwtory. AVhy? because they 
worked from fixed principles, which they fully and clearly 
understood, and the* tendency of which they entirely compre- 
hended. In the Reformation, on the contrary, when the 
event surpassed its conception, something incomplete, incon- 
sequent, and narrow has remained, which has placed the 
conquerors themselves in a state of rational and philosophi- 
cal inferiority, the influence of which has occasionally been 
jfelt in events. The conflict of the now spiritual order of 
things against the old 9 is, I think, the weak side of the 
[Reformation." a 

* Ear. Civil, pp, 804- 398, 


6. Additional Remarks. 

Such are some of the intellectual principles which are 
characteristic of Christianity. I observe, 

That their continuity down to this clay, and the vigour 
of their operation, are two distinct guarantees that the 
theological conclusions to which they are subservient arc, 
in accordance with the Divine Promise, true developments, 
and not corruptions of the Revelation. 

Moreover, if it be true that the principles of the later 
Church are the same as those of the earlier, then, whatever 
are the variations of belief between the two periods, the 
later in reality agrees more than it differs with the earlier, 
for principles are responsible for doctrines. Hence they 
who assert that the modern Roman system is the corrup- 
tion of primitive theology are forced to discover some 
difference of principle between the one and the other ; for 
instance, that the right of private judgment was secured to 
the early Church and has been lost to the later, or, again, that 
the later Church rationalizes and the earlier went by faith, 


On this point I will but remark as follows. It cannot 
be doubted that the horror of heresy, the law of absolute 
obedience to ecclesiastical authority, and the doctrine of 
the mystical virtue of unity, were as strong and active in 
the Church of St. Ignatius and St. Cyprian as in that of 
St. Carlo and St. Pius the Fifth, whatever be thought of 
the theology respectively taught in the one and in the 
other. Now we have before our eyes the effect of these 
principles in the instance of the later Church ; they have 
entirely succeeded in preventing departure from the doc- 
trine of Trent for three hundred years. Have we any 
reason for doubting, that from the same strictness the same 
fidelity would follow, in the first three, or any three, cen^ 
turies of the Ante-tridentine period? Where then was 


6. Additional Remarks* 

Such are some of the intellectual principles which are 
characteristic of Christianity. I observe, 

That their continuity down to this day, and the vigour 
of their operation, are two distinct guarantees that the 
theological conclusions to which they are subservient are, 
in accordance with the Divine Promise, true developments, 
and not corruptions of the Revelation. 

Moreover, if it be true that the principles of the later 
Church are the same as those of the earlier, then, whatever 
are the variations of belief between the two periods, the 
later in reality agrees more than it differs with the earlier, 
for principles are responsible for doctrines. Hence they 
who assert that the modern Roman system is the corrup- 
tion of primitive theology are forced to discover some 
difference of principle between the one and the other ; for 
instance, that the right of private judgment was secured to 
the early Church and has been lost to the later, or, again, that 
the later Church rationalizes and the earlier went by faith, 


On this point I will but remark as follows. It cannot 
be doubted that the horror of heresy, the law of absolute 
obedience to ecclesiastical authority, and the doctrine of 
the mystical virtue of unity, were as strong and active in 
the Church of" St. Ignatius and St. Cyprian as in that of 
St. Carlo and St. Pius the Fifth, whatever be thought of 
the theology respectively taught in the one and in the 
other. Now we have before our eyes the effect of these 
principles in the instance of the later Church ; they have 
entirely succeeded in preventing departure from the doc- 
trine of Trent for three hundred years. Have we any 
reason for doubting, that from the same strictness the same 
fidelity would follow, in the first three, or any three, cen 
turies of the Ante-tridentine period? Where then was 

A a 



the opportunity of corruption in the three hundred years 
between St. Ignatius and St. Augustine ? or between St. 
Augustine and St. Bede? or between St. Bede and St. 
Peter Damiani ? or again, between St. Irensous and St. Leo, 
St. Cyprian and St. Gregory the Great, St. Athanasius 
and St. John Damascene ? Thus the tradition of eighteen 
centuries becomes a collection of indefinitely many catena, 
each commencing from its own point, and each crossing the 
other ; and each year, as it comes, is guaranteed with various 
degrees of cogency by every year which has gone before it, 


Moreover, while the development of doctrine in the 
CLurch has been in accordance with, or in consequence of 
those immemorial principles, the various heresies, which 
have from time to time arisen, have in one respect or other, 
as might be expected, violated those principles with which 
she rose into existence, and which sho still retains. Thus 
Arian and Ncstorian schools denied the allegorical rule 
of Scripture interpretation ; the Gnostics and Eunomians 
for Faith professed to substitute knowledge; and the 
Manichees also, as St. Augustine so touchingly declares 
in the beginning of his work De Utilitate credendi. The 
dogmatic liulo, at least so far as regards its traditional 
character, was thrown aside by all those sects which, as 
Tertullian tells us, claimed to judge for themselves from. 
Scripture; and the Sacramental principle was violated, 
ijjxo facto, by all who separated from the Church, was 
denied also by Faustus the Manichee when he argued 
against the Catholic ceremonial, by Vigilantius in his 
opposition to relics, and by the Iconoclasts. In like manner 
the contempt of mystery, o reverence, of dovoutncss, of 
sanctity, are other notes of the heretical spirit. As to 
Protestantism it is plain in how many ways it has reversed 
the principles of Catholic theology. 




SINCE religious systems, true and false, have one and 
the same great and comprehensive subject- matter, they 
necessarily interfere with one another as rivals, both in 
those points in which they agree together, and in those 
in which they differ. That Christianity on its rise was 
in these circumstances of competition jmd controversy, is 
sufficiently evident even from a foregoing Chapter : it 
was surrounded by rites, sects, and philosophies, which 
contemplated the same questions, sometimes advocated the 
same truths, and in no slight degree wore the same ex- 
ternal appearance. It could not stand still, it could not 
take its own way, and let them take theirs : they came 
across its path, and a conflict was inevitable. The very 
nature of a true philosophy relatively to other systems is to 
be polemical, eclectic, unitive : Christianity was polemical; 
it could not but be eclectic; but was it also unitive? 
Had it the power, while keeping its own identity, of 
absorbing its antagonists, as Aaron's rod, according to St. 
Jerome's illustration, devoured the rods of the sorcerers of 
Egypt? Did it incorporate them into itself, or was it 
dissolved into them ? Did it assimilate them into its own 

A a 2 


substance, or, keeping its name, was it simply infected by 
them? In a word, were its developments faithful 01 
corrupt? Nor is this a question merely of the early 
centuries. When we consider the deep interest of the 
controversies which Christianity raises, the various charac- 
ters of mind it has swayed, the range of subjects which ii 
embraces, the many countries it has entered, the deef 
philosophies it has encountered, the vicissitudes it has under- 
gone, and the length of time through which it has lasted, 
it requires some assignable explanation, why we should 
not consider it substantially modified and changed, that is 
corrupted, from the first, by the- numberless influences tc 
which it has been exposed 


Now there was this cardinal distinction between Chris- 
tianity and the religions and philosophies by which it was 
surrounded, nay even the Judaism of the day, tliat i1 
referred all truth and revelation to one source, and thai 
the Supreme and Only God. Pagan rites which honourec 
one or other out of ten thousand deities j philosophies 
which scarcely taught any nourco of revolution at all 
Gnostic heresies which were based on Dualism, adorec 
angels, or ascribed the two Testaments to distinct authors 
could Bot regard truth as one, unalterable, consistent 
imperative, and saving. But Christianity started wit! 
the principle that there was but "one God and OIK 
Mediator," and that He, "who at sundry times and ir 
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the 
Prophets, had in these last days spoken, unto us by Hit 
Son." lie had never left Himself without witness, anc 
now He hacl come, not to undo the past, but to fu!6 
and perfect it. His Apostles, and they alone, possessed 
venerated, and protected a Divine Message, as both sacrec 
and sanctifying; and, in the collision and conflict o, 


opinions., in ancient times or modern, it was that Message, 
and not any vague or antagonist teaching, that was to 
succeed in purifying, assimilating, transmuting, and taking 
into itself the many-coloured beliefs, forms of worship, 
codes of duty, schools of thought, through which it was ever 
moving. It was Grace, and it was Truth. 

1. The Assimilating Poicer of Dogmatic Truth. 

That there is a truth then ; that there is one truth ; 
that religious error is in itself of an immoral nature ; that 
its maintainers., unless involuntarily such, are guilty in 
maintaining it ; that it is to be dreaded ; that the search 
for truth is not the gratification of curiosity; that its 
attainment has nothing of the excitement of a discovery ; 
that the mind is below truth, not above it, and is bound, 
not to descant upon it, but to venerate it ; that truth and 
falsehood are set before us for the trial of our hearts ; that 
our choice is an awful giving forth of lots on which salva- 
tion or rejection is inscribed ; that " before all things it is 
necessary to hold the Catholic faith ;" that "he that would 
be saved must thus think," and not otherwise; that, "if 
thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for 
understanding, if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest 
for her as for hid treasure, then shalt thou understand the 
fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God/* this 
is the dogmatical principle, which has strength. 

That truth and falsehood in religion are but matter of 
opinion ; that one doctrine is as good as another ; that the 
Governor of the world does not intend that we should 
gain the truth ; that there is no truth ; that we are not 
more acceptable to God by believing this than by believing 
that ; that no one is answerable for his opinions ; that they 
are a matter of necessity or accident ; that it is enough if 
we sincerely hold what we profess ; that our merit lies in 


seeking, not in possessing ; that it is a duty to follow what 
seems to us true, without a fear lest it should not be true ; 
that it may be a gain to succeed, and can be no harm to 
fail; that we may take up and lay down opinions at 
pleasure ; that belief belongs to the mere intellect, not to 
the heart also ; that we may safely trust to ourselves in 
matters of Faith, and need no other guide, this is the 
principle of philosophies and heresies, which is very 


Two opinions encounter ; each may be abstractedly true; 
or again, each may be a subtle, comprehensive doctrine, 
vigorous, elastic, expansive, various ; one is held as a 
matter of indifference, the other as a matter of life and 
death ; one is held by the intellect only, the other also by 
the heart : it is plain which of the two must succumb to 
the other. Such was the conflict of Christianity with the 
old established Paganism, which was almost dead before 
Christianity appeared ; with the Oriental Mysteries, flit- 
ting wildly to and fro like spectres; with the Gnostics, 
who made Knowledge all in all, despised the many, and 
called Catholics mere children in the Truth; with the 
Neo-plutonists, men of literature, pedants, visionaries, or 
courtiers ; with the Munichees, who profcssod to seek 
Truth by Keason, not by Faith; with the fluctuating 
teachers of the school of Antioch, tho time-serving 
Eusebians, and the reckless versatile Arians ; with the fa- 
natic Montanists and harsh Novatians, who shrank from the 
Catholic doctrine, without power to propagate their own* 
These sects had no stay or consistence, yet they contained 
elements of truth amid their error, and had 'Christianity 
been ay they, it might have resolved into thorn ; but it had 
that hold of the truth which gave its teaching a gravity, a 
directness, a consistency, a stemneaa, and a force, to which 


its rivals for the most part were strangers. ' It could not 
call evil good, or good evil, because it discerned the dif- 
ference between them ; it could not make light of what 
was so solemn, or desert what was so solid. Hence, in the 
collision, it broke in pieces its antagonists, and divided the 


This was but another form of the spirit that made mar- 
tyrs. Dogmatism was in teaching, what confession was in 
act. Each was the same strong principle of life in a 
different aspect, distinguishing the faith which was dis- 
played in it from the world's philosophies on the one side, 
and the world's religions on the other. The heathen sects 
and the heresies of Christian history were dissolved by the 
breath of opinion which made them ; paganism shuddered 
and died at the very sight of the sword of persecution, 
which it had itself unsheathed. Intellect and force were 
applied as tests both upon the divine and upon the human 
work ; they prevailed with the human, they did but be- 
come instruments of the Divine. ' " No one/' says St. 
Justin, " has so believed Socrates as to die for the doctrine 
which he taught." " Ho one was ever found undergoing 
death for faith in the sun/' 1 Thus Christianity grew in 
its proportions, gaining aliment and medicine from all 
that it came near, yet preserving its original type, from 
its perception and its love of what had been revealed once 
for all and was no private imagination. 


There are writers who refer to the first centuries of the 

Church as a time when opinion was free, and the conscience 

exempt from, the obligation or temptation to take on trust 

what it had not proved ; and that, apparently on the mere 

1 Justin, Apol. ii. 10, Trjpb. 121. 


ground that the series of great theological decisions did not 
commence till the fourth. This seems to be M. Guizot's 
meaning when he says that Christianity " in the early ages 
was a helief, a sentiment, an individual conviction ;" 2 that 
" the Christian society appears as a pure association of men 
animated hy the same sentiments and professing the same 
creed. The first Christians," he continues, " assembled to 
enjoy together the same emotions, the same religious con- 
victions. We do not find any doctrinal system established, 
any form of discipline or of laws, or any body of magis- 
trates/' 3 What can be meant by saying that Christianity 
had no magistrates in the earliest ages ? but, any how, 
in statements such as these the distinction is not properly 
recognized between a principle and its exhibitions and 
instances, even if the fact were as is represented. The 
principle indeed of Dogmatism developcs into Councils m 
the course of time ; but it was active, nay sovereign from 
the first, in every part of Christendom. A conviction that 
truth was one ; that it was a gift from without, a sacred 
trust, an inestimable blessing ; that it was to be i-evcrenccd, 
guarded, defended, transmitted; that its absence was a 
grievous want, and its lows an unutterable calamity; and 
again, the stern words and nets of St. John, of Polycarp, 
Ignatius, Jrenaoufl, Clement, Tertullian, and Origan ; all 
this is quite consistent with perplexity or mistake as to 
what was truth in particular cases, in what way doubtful 
questions were to be decided, or what were the limits of 
the Revelation. Councils and Popes arc the guardians 
and instruments of the dogmatic principle : they are not 
that principle themselves ; they presuppose the principle; 
they are summoned into action tit the call of the principle, 
and the principle might act even before they had their 
legitimate place, and exercised a recognized power, in the 
movements of the Christian body. 

3 Europ. Civ. p. OG, tr. * p. S3* 



The instance of Conscience, which las already served us 
in illustration, may assist us here. What Conscience is in 
the history of an individual mind, such was the dogmatic 
principle in the history of Christianity. Both in the one 
case and the other, there is the gradual formation of a 
directing power out of a principle. The natural voice of 
Conscience is far more imperative in testifying and 
enforcing a rule of duty, than successful in determining that 
duty in particular cases. It acts as a messenger from above, 
and says that there is a right and a wrong, and that the 
right must be followed ; but it is variously, and therefore 
erroneously, trained in the instance of various persons. 
It mistakes error for truth ; and yet we believe that on the 
whole, and even in those cases where it is ill- instructed, if 
its voice be diligently obeyed, it will gradually be cleared, 
simplified, and perfected, so that minds, starting differently 
will, if honest, in course of time converge to one and the 
aame truth. I do not Hereby imply that there is indistinct- 
ness so great as this in the theology of the first centuries ; 
but so far is plain, that the early Church and Fathers 
exercised far more a ruler's than a doctor's office : it was 
the age of Martyrs, of acting not of thinking. Doctors 
succeeded Martyrs, as light and peace of conscience follow 
upon obedience to it ; yet, even before the Church had 
grown into the full measure of its doctrines, it was rooted 
in its principles. 


So far, however, may be granted to M. Guizot, that 
even principles were not so well understood and so care- 
fully handled at first, as they were afterwards. In the 
early period, we see traces of a conflict, as well as of a 
variety, in theological elements, which were in course of 
combination, but which required adjustment and manage- 


ment before they could be used with precision as one. In 
a thousand instances of a minor character, the statements 
of the early Fathers are but tokens of the multiplicity of 
openings which the mind of the Church was making into 
the treasure-house of Truth ; real openings, but incomplete 
or irregular. Nay, the doctrines even of the heretical 
bodies are indices and anticipations of the mind of the 
Church. As the first step in settling a question of doc- 
trine is to raise and debate it, so heresies in every age may 
be taken as the measure of the existing state of thought 
in the Church, and of the movement of her theology ; they 
determine in what way the current is setting, and the rate 
at which it flows. 


Thus, St. Clement may bo called the representative of 
the eclectic element, and Tertulliun of the dogmatic, 
neither clement as yet being fully understood by Catho- 
lics ; and Clement perhaps went too fur in his accommo- 
dation to philosophy, and Tertulliun asserted with exag- 
geration the immutability of the Creed. Nay, the two 
antagonist principles of dogmatism and assimilation are 
found in Tcrtullian alone, though with Home deficiency of 
amalgamation, and with a greater loaning towards the 
dogmatic. Though tho Montanisis professed to pass over 
the subject of doctrine, it is chiefly in Tertullian's Mon- 
tanislio works that his strong statements occur of the 
unaltcrabloness of the Creed ; and extravagance on the 
subject is not only in keeping with the stern and vehe- 
ment temper of that Father, but with tho general severity 
and harshness of his sect. On tho other hand tho very 
foundation of Monianism is development, though not of 
doctrine, yet of discipline and conduct. It is said that its 
founder professed himself tho promised Comforter, through 
whom tho Church was to bo perfected ; ho provided pro- 


phets as organs of the new revelation, and called Catholics 
Psychici or animal. Tertullian distinctly recognizes even 
the process of development in one of his Montanistic 
works. After speaking of an. innovation upon usage, 
which his newly revealed truth required, he proceeds, 
" Therefore hath the Lord sent the Paraclete, that, since 
human infirmity could not take all things in at once, dis- 
cipline might be gradually directed, regulated and brought 
to perfection by the Lord's Vicar, the Holy Ghost. ' I 
have yet many things to say to you/ He saith, &c. What 
is this dispensation of the Paraclete but this, that disci- 
pline is directed, Scriptures opened, intellect reformed, im- 
provements effected? Nothing can take place without 
age, and all things wait their time. In short, the Preacher 
says ' There is a time for all things/ Behold the creature 
itself gradually advancing to fruit. At first there is a 
seed, and a stalk springs out of the seed, and from the 
stalk bursts out a shrub, and then its branches and foliage 
grow vigorous, and all that we mean by a tree is unfolded ; 
then there is the swelling of the bud, and the bud is re- 
solved into a blossom, and the blossom is opened into a 
fruit, and is for a while rudimental and unformed, till, by 
degrees following out its life, it is matured into mellowness 
of flavour. So too righteousness, (for there is the same 
God both of righteousness and of the creation,) was at first 
ia its rudiments, a nature fearing God ; thence, by meaiis 
of Law and Prophet s, it advanced into infancy ; thence, 
by the gospel, it burst forth into its youth ; and now by the 
Paraclete, it is fashioned into maturity." 4 


Not in one principle or doctrine only, but in its whole 
system, Mdntanism is a remarkable anticipation or pre- 

* Bo Virg. Vol. 1. 


sage of developments which soon began to show them- 
selves in the Church, though they were not perfected for 
centuries after. Its rigid maintenance of the original 
Creed, yet its admission of a development, at least in the 
ritual,, has just been instanced in the person of Tertullian. 
Equally Catholic in their principle, whether in fact or 
anticipation, were most of the other peculiarities of Mon- 
tanism : its rigorous fasts, its visions, its commendation of 
celibacy and martyrdom, its contempt of temporal goods, its 
penitential discipline, and its maintenance of a centre of 
unity. The doctrinal determinations and the ecclesiastical 
usages of the middle ages are the true fulfilment of its self- 
willed and abortive attempts at precipitating the growth 
of the Church. The favour shown to it for a while by 
Pope Victor is an evidence of its external resemblance to 
orthodoxy; and the celebrated Martyrs and Saints in 
Africa, in the beginning of the third century, Perpetua 
and Felicitas, or at least their Acts, betoken that same 
peculiar temper of religion, which, when cut off from the 
Church a few years afterwards, quickly degenerated into 
a heresy- A parallel instance occurs in the case of the 
Donatists, They held a doctrine on the subject of Bap- 
tism similar to that of St. G\ prian : " Vincentius Liri- 
nensis," says Gibbon, referring to Tillemont's remarks oix 
that resemblance, "has explained why the Donatists are 
eternally burning with the devil, while St. Cyprian reigns 
in heaven with Jesus Christ/' 5 And his reason is in- 
telligible : it is, says Tillomont, " as fcjfc. Augustine often 
says, because the Donatists had broken the bond of peace 
and charity with the other Churches, which St. Cyprian 
tad preserved so carefully* 1 " c 


Those are specimens of the raw material, as it may bo 
* Hist t. 3, p. 312. Horn. Eccl. t. 6, p, 83. 


called, which, whether as found in 1 individual Fathers 
within the pale of the Church, or in / heretics external to 
it, she had the power, by means of the continuity and 
firmness of her principles, to convert to her own uses. 
She alone has succeeded in J thus rejecting evil without 
sacrificing the good, and in holding together in one 
things which in all other schools are incompatible. 
Gnostic or Platonic words are found in the inspired 
theology of St. John ; to the Platonists Unitarian writers 
trace the doctrine of our Lord's divinity ; Gibbon the idea 
of the Incarnation to the Gnostics. The Gnostics too 
seem first to have systematically thrown the intellect 
upon matters of faith ; and the very term *' Gnostic " has 
been taken by Clement to express his perfect Christian, 
And, though ascetics existed from the beginning, the 
notion of a religion higher than the Christianity of the 
many, was first prominently brought forward by the 
Gnostics, Montanists, JsTovatians, and Manichees. And 
while the prophets of the Montanists prefigure the 
Church's Doctors, and their professed inspiration her 
infallibility, and their revelations her developments, and 
the heresiarch. himself is the unsightly anticipation of 
St. Francis, in Novatian again we discern the aspiration 
of nature after such creations of grace as St. Benedict or 
St. Bruno. And so the effort of Sabellius to complete 
the enunciation of the mystery of the Ever-blessed Trinity 
failed: it became a heresy; grace would not be con- 
strained ; the course of thought could not be forced ; at 
length it was realized in. the true Unitarianism of St 


Doctrine too 5s 'percolated, as it were, through different 
minds, beginning with writers of inferior authority in the 
Church, and issuing at length in the enunciation of her 
Doctors. Origen, Tertullian, nay Busebius and the An- 


tiochenes. supply the materials, from which, the Fathers 
have wrought out comments or treatises. St. Gregory 
Nazianzen and St. Basil digested into form the theologi- 
cal principles of Origen ; St. Hilary and St. Ambrose are 
both indebted to the same great writer in their inter- 
pretations of Scripture ; St. Ambrose again has taken his 
comment on St. Luke from Eusebius, and certain of his 
Tracts from Philo; St. Cyprian called Tertullian his 
Master ; and traces of Tertullian, in his almost heretical 
treatises, may be detected in the most finished sentences 
of St. Leo. The school of Antioch, in spite of tho here- 
tical taint of various of its Masters, formed the genius of 
St. Chrysostom. And the Apocryphal gospels have con- 
tributed many things for the devotion and edification, of 
Catholic believers. 7 

The deep meditation which scorns to have been exercised 
by the Fathers on points of doctrine, the disputes and 
turbulence yet lucid determination which characterize the 
Councils, the indecision of Popes, are all in different ways, 
at least when viewed together, portions and indications of 
tho same process. The theology of the Church is no 
random combination of various opinions, but a diligent, 
patient working out of one doctrine from many materials. 
The conduct of Popes, Councils, Fathers, betokens the 
slow, painful, anxious taking up of now truths into an. 
existing body of belief. St. AUianasius, St. Augustine, 
St. Leo are conspicuous for tho repetition, in tawnum of 
their own theological statements ; on tho contrary, it has 
been observed of the heterodox Tertullian, that his works 
" indicate no ordinary fertility of mind in that he so little 
repeats himself or recurs to favourite thoughts, as is fre- 
quently the case even with the great St. Augustine/' 8 

7 Gallnncl. t. 3, p. 673, note 3. 

* Vid. Prof eo to Oxford Trims), of Tertullian, where the character of 
his mind is admirably drawn out. 



Here we see the difference between originality of 
mind and the gift and calling of a Doctor in the Church ; 
the holy Fathers just mentioned were intently fixing their 
minds on what they taught, grasping it more and more 
closely, viewing it on various sides, trying its consistency, 
weighing their own separate expressions. And thus if in 
some cases they were even left in ignorance, the next 
generation of teachers completed their work, for the same 
unwearied anxious process of thought went on. St. Gre- 
gory Hysben finishes the investigations of St. Athanasius ; 
St. Leo guards the polemical statements of St. Cyril. 
Clement may hold a purgatory, yet tend to consider all 
punishment purgatorial ; St. Cyprian may hold the un- 
sanctified state of heretics, but include in his doctrine a 
denial of their baptism ; St. Hippolytus may believe in 
the personal existence of the Word from eternity, yet 
speak confusedly on the eternity of His Sonship ; the Coun- 
cil of Antioch might put aside the Homoiision, and the 
Council of Nicoea impose it ; St. Hilary may believe in 
a purgatory, yet confine it to the day of judgment; 
St. Athanasius and other Fathers may treat with almost 
supernatural exactness the doctrine of our Lord's incarna- 
tion, yet imply, as far as words go, that He was ignorant 
viewed in His human, nature ; the Athanasian Creed may 
admit the illustration of soul and body, and later Fathers 
may discountenance it ; St. Augustine might first be 
opposed to the employment of force in religion, and then 
acquiesce in it. Prayers for the faithful departed may be 
found in the early liturgies, yet with an indistinctness 
which included the Blessed Virgin and the Martyrs in 
the same rank with the imperfect Christian whose sins 
were as yet unexpiated ; and succeeding times might keep 
what was exact, and supply what was deficient. Aris- 
toUe might be reprobated by certain early Fathers, yet 



furnish, the phraseology for theological definitions after- 
wards. And in a different subject-matter, St. Isidore and 
others might be suspicious of the decoration of Churches ; 
St. Paulinus and St. Helena advance it. And thus we are 
bi'ought on to dwell upon the office of grace, as well as of 
truth, in enabling the Church's creed to develope and to 
absorb without the risk of corruption. 

2. The Assimilating Power of Sacramental Grace. 

There is in truth a certain virtue or grace in the Gospel 
which changes the quality of doctrines, opinions, usages, 
actions, and personal characters when incorporated with 
it, and makes them right and acceptable to its Divine 
Author, whereas before they were either infected with evil, 
or at best but shadows of the truth. This is the prin- 
ciple, above spoken of, which I have called the Sacra- 
mental. "Wo know that wo are of God, and the whole 
world lieth in wickedness/' is an enunciation of the prin- 
ciplo; or, the declaration of the Apostle of the Gentiles, 
4< If any man be in Chris!., ho is a new creature ; old 
things are passed away, behold all things are become now." 
Thus it is that outward rites, which are but worthless in 
themselves, loso their earthly character and become 
Sacraments under the Gospel; circumcision, as St. Paul 
says, is carnal and has come to an cud, yet Baptism is a 
perpetual ordinance, as being grafted upon a system which 
is oraco and truth. Elsewhere, he parallels, while ho con- 
twists, " the cup of the Lord " and " the cup of devils/' in 
this respect, that to partake of either IB to hold communion 
with the source from which it comes; and he adds 
presently, that " we have been all made to drink into one 
spirit." So again he says, no one is justified by the works 
of the old Law ; while both ho implies, and fit. James 
declares, that Christians arc justified by works of the Now 


Law. -Again he contrasts the exercises of the intellect as 
exhibited by heathen and Christian. "Howbeit," he 
says, after condemning heathen wisdom, " we speak wisdom 
among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this 
world ;" and it is plain that nowhere need we look for 
more glowing eloquence, more distinct profession of 
reasoning, more caref al assertion of doctrine, than is to be 
found in the Apostle's writings. 


In like manner when the Jewish exorcists attempted to 
" call over them which had evil spirits the Name of the 
Lord Jesus/' the evil spirit professed not to know them, 
and inflicted on them a bodily injury ; on the other hand, 
the occasion of this attempt of theirs was a stupendous 
instance or type, in the person of St> Paul, of the very 
principle I am. illustrating. "Grod wrought special 
miracles by the hands of Paul, so that from his body were 
brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the 
diseases departed from them, and tfhe evil spirits went out 
of them." The grace given him was cornmunicable 9 
diffusive; an influence passing from 'him to others, and 
making what it touched spiritual, as enthusiasm may be 
or tastes or panics. 

Parallel in stances occur of the operation of this principlem 
the history of the Church, from the time that the Apostles 
were taken from it. St. Paul denounces distinctions in meat 
and drink, the observance of Sabbaths and holydays, and 
of ordinances, and the worship of Angels ; yet Christians, 
from the first, were rigid in their stated fastings, venerated, 
as St. Justin tells us, the Angelic intelligences,? and 
established the observance of the Lord's day as soon as 
persecution ceased. 

Infra, pp. 411-415, &c. 

* B b 



In like manner Celsus objects that Christians did not 
" endure the sight of temples, altars, and statues ;" Por- 
phyry, that " they blame the rites of worship, -victims, 
and frankincense ; " the heathen disputant in Minucius 
asks, "Why have Christians no altars, no temples, no 
conspicuous images ? " and " no sacrifices ;" and yet it is 
plain from Tertullian that Christians had altars of their 
own, and sacrifices and priests. And that they had 
churches is again and again proved by Eusebius who had 
seen "the houses of prupr levelled" in the Dioclesian 
persecution ; from the history too of St. Gregory Thauma- 
turgus, nay from Clement. 1 Again, St. Justin and Mum- 
cms speak of the form of the Cross in terms of reverence, 
quite inconsistent with the doctrine that external emblems 
of religion may not be venerated. Tertulliau speaks of 
Christians signing themselves with it whatever they set 
about, whether they walk, eat, or lie down to sleep. In 
Eusebius's life of Constantino, the figure of the Cross holdw 
a most conspicuous place ; the Kmporor sees it in the sky 
and is converted ; he places it upon his standards ; he 
inserts it into his own hand when ho puts up his statue; 
wherever the Cross is displayed in his battles, he conquers ; 
he appoints fifty men to carry it ; he engraves it on his 
soldiers' arms ; and Licinius dreads its power. Shortly 
after, Julian plainly accuses Christians of worshipping the 
wood of the Cross, though they refused to worship the 
ancile. In a later ago the worship of images was intro- 
duced. 2 

1 Orig. c. Gels. vii. 63, viii. 17 (vid. not. Bcnocl. in loc,), August. Ep. 
102, 16 ; Minuc. F. 10, and 32 ; Tortnll. tie Orat. fin. ad Uxor, i. fin. 
Euseb, Hist. viii. 2; Clom. Strom, vii. 6, p. 846. 

* Tertull. do Cor. 3 ; Just, Apol. L 65 \ Minuc. F. 2 ) ; Julian ap, Cyr. 
vl p, 194, Sptmh. 



The principle of the distinction, by which these ob- 
servances were pious in Christianity and superstitious in 
paganism, is Implied in such passages of Tertullian, Lac- 
tantius, and others, as speak of evil spirits lurking. under 
the pagan, statues. It is intimated also by Origen, who, 
after saying that Scripture so strongly " forbids temples, 
altars; and images/' that Christians are " ready to go to 
death, if necessary, rather than pollute their notion of the 
God of all by any such transgression," assigns as a reason 
"that, as far as possible, they might not fall into the 
notion that images were gods." St. Augustine, in reply- 
ing to Porphyry, is more express ; " Those," he says, 
" who are acquainted with Old and New Testament do 
not blame in the pagan religion the erection of temples or 
institution of priesthoods, but that these are done to idols 
and devils. . . True religion blames in their superstitions, 
not so much their sacrificing, for the ancient saints sacri- 
ficed to the True God, as their sacrificing to false gods." 3 
To Faustus the Manichee he answers, " We have some 
things in common with, the gentiles, but our purpose is 
different." * And St. Jerome asks Vigilantius, who made 
objections to lights and oil, " Because we once worshipped 
idols, is that a reason why we should not worship God, for 
fear of seeming to address him with an honour like that 
which was paid to idols and then was detestable, whereas 
this is paid to Martyrs and therefore to be received ? " 5 


Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the 
infection of evil, and to transmute the very instruments 

* Epp 102, 18. 4 Contr. Fausfc, 20, 2a 

8 Lac. ii. 15, 16 ; Tertull. Spect. 12 j Origen, c. Cels. vii. 6* 6<5 V 
Augu t. Ep. 102, 18; Contr. JFaust.xx. 23; Hieron. c. Vigil. 8. 

B b 2 



and appendages of demon-worship to an evangelical use, 
and feeling also that these usages had originally come from 
primitive revelations and from the instinct of nature, 
though they had been corrupted ; and that they must 
invent what they needed, if they did not use what they 
found ; and that they were moreover possessed of the very 
archetypes, of which paganism attempted the shadows; 
the rulers of the Church from early times were prepared, 
should the occasion arise, to adopt, or imitate, or sanction 
the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as 
the philosophy of the educated class. 

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus supplies the first instance 
on record of this economy. IIo was the Apoatlo of 
Pontus, and one of his methods for governing an untoward 
population is thus related by 8t. Gregory of Nyasa. 
' ' On returning/' he says, " to the city, after revisiting the 
country round about, he increased the devotion of the peo- 
ple everywhere by instituting festive mooting in honour 
of those who had fought for the faith. Tho bodies of tho 
Martyrs were distributed in different places, und tho people 
assembled and made merry, as the your cumo round, 
holding festival in their honour. This indeed was a proof 
of his great wisdom . . . for, perceiving that tho cluldwh 
and untrained populace were retained in their idolatrous 
error by creature comfort^ in order that what was of 
first importance should at any rato bo secured to thorn, 
viz. that they should look to God in place of their vain 
rites, he allowed them Lo bo merry, jovial, and gay at 
the monuments of the holy Martyrs, as if their behaviour 
would in time undergo a spontaneous change into greater 
seriousness and strictness, sinco faith would load them to 
it; which has actually been tho happy issue in that popu- 
lation, all carnal gratification having turned into a spiri- 
tual form of rejoicing/' There is no reason, to suppose 
Vifc. Thaurn. p. 1006. 


that the licence here spoken of passed the limits of harm- 
less though rude festivity; for it is observable that the 
same reason, the need of holydays for the multitude, is 
assigned by Origen, St. Gregory's master, to explain the 
establishment of the Lord's Day also, and the Paschal and 
the Pentecostal festivals, which have never been viewed 
as unlawful compliances ; and, moreover, fche people were 
in fact eventually reclaimed from their gross habits by his 
indulgent policy, a successful issue which could not have 
followed an accommodation to what was sinful. 


The example set by St. Gregory in an age of persecution, 
was impetuously followed when a time of peace succeeded. 
In the course of the fourth century two movements or 
developments spread over the face of Christendom, with a 
rapidity characteristic of the Church ; the one ascetic, the 
other ritual or ceremonial. We are told in various ways 
by Eusebius, 7 that Constantine, in order to recommend 
the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the 
outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in 
their own. It is not necessary to go into a subject which 
the diligence of Protestant writers has made familiar to 
most of us. The use of temples, and these dedicated to 
particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with, 
branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive 
offerings on recovery from illness ; holy water ; asylums ; 
holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, 
blessings on the fields ; sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, 
the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a 
later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie 
Eleison, 8 are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their 
adoption into the Church. 

7 V. Const, in. 1, iv. 23, &c. 

* According to Dr. & D. Clurke, Travels, vol. i. p. 352. 



The eighth "book of TheodoreVs work Adcersm Gentiles, 
which is " On the Martyrs/* treats so largely on the 
subject, that we must content ourselves with only a speci- 
men of the illustrations which it affords, of the principle 
acted on by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus. " Time, which 
makes all things decay/* he says, speaking of the Martyrs, 
"has preserved their glory incorruptible. For as the 
noble souls of those conquerors traverse the heavens, and 
take part in the spiritual choirs, so their bodies are not 
consigned to separate tombs, but cities and towns di- 
vide them among them ; and call them saviours of souls 
and bodies, and physicians, and honour them as the pro- 
tectors and guardians of cities^ and, using their interven- 
tion with the Lord of all, obtain through thorn divmo 
gifts. And though each body be divided, the gruc.o re- 
mains indivisible; and that small, that tiny particle is 
equal in power with the Martyr that hath novor boon 
dispersed about. For the grace which is ever blossoming 
distributes the gifts, measuring the bounty according to 
the faith of those who conw for it, 

"Tot not even this persuades you to eolc-bmto their 
God, but ye laugh and mock at the honour which is paid 
them by all, and consider it a pollution to approach their 
tombs. But though all me,n made a jest of them, yet at 
least the Greeks could not decently complain, to whom 
belonged libations and expiations, and heroes and demi- 
gods and deified men. To Hercules, though a man , * and 
compelled to serve Eurysthous, they huilt temples, arid 
constructed altars, and offered samites in honour, and 
allotted feasts; and that-, not Hpartans only and Athe- 
nians, but tho whole of Greece and the greater part of 



Then, after going through, the history of many heathen 
deities, and referring to the doctrine of the philosophers 
about great men, and to the monuments of kings and 
emperors, all of which at once are witnesses and are in- 
ferior, to the greatness of the Martyrs, he continues: "To 
their shrines we come, not once or twice a year or five 
times, but often do we hold celebrations ; often, nay daily, 
do we present hymns to their Lord. And the sound in 
health ask for its preservation, and those who struggle 
with any disease for a release from their sufferings; the 
childless for children, the barren to become mothers, and 
those who enjoy the blessing for its safe keeping. Those 
too who are setting out for a foreign land beg that the 
Martyrs may be their fellow-travellers and guides of the 
journey; those who have come safe back acknowledge 
the grace, not coming to them as to gods, but beseeching 
them as divine men, and asking their intercession. And 
that they obtain what they ask in faith, their dedications 
openly witness, in token of their cure. For some bring 
likenesses of eyes, others of feet, others of hands ; some of 
gold, others of silver ; and their Lord accepts even the 
small and cheap, measuring the gift by the offerer's ability. 
.... Philosophers and Orators are consigned to oblivion, 
and kings and captains are not known even by name to 
the many ; but the names of the Martyrs are better known 
to all than the names of those dearest to them. And they 
make a point of giving them to their children, with a view 
of gaining for them thereby safety and protection. . . . 
Nay, of the so-called gods, so utterly have the sacred 
places been destroyed, that not even their outline remains, 
nor the shape of their altars is known to men of this 
generation, while their materials have been dedicated to the 
shrines of the Martyrs. For the Lord has introduced His 


own dead in place of your gods; of the one He hath 
made a riddance, on the other He hath conferred their 
honours. For the Pandian festival, the Diasia, and the 
Dionysia, and your other such, we have the feasts of 
Peter, of Paul, of Thomas, of Sergius, of Marcellus, of 
Leontius, of Panteleemon, of Antony, of Maurice, and of 
the other Martyrs ; and for that old-world procession, and 
indecency of work and word, are held modest festivities 
without intemperance, or revel, or laughter, hut with 
divine hymns, and attendance on holy discourses and 
prayers, adorned with laudable tears." This was the 
view of the. " Evidences of Christianity " which a Bishop 
of the fifth century offered for the conversion of un- 


The introduction of Images was still later, and met with 
more opposition in the West than in the East. It is 
grounded on the same great principle which I am illus- 
trating i and as I have given extracts from Theodoret for 
the developments of the fourth and fifth centuries, so will 
I now cite St. John Damascene in defence of the further 
developments of the eighth. 

" As to the passages you adduce/ 7 ho says to his oppo- 
nents, /'they abominate not the worship paid to our Images, 
but that of the Greeks, who made them gods. It needs 
not therefore, because of the absurd use of the Greeks, to 
abolish our use which is so pious. Enchanters and wizards 
UKO adjurations, so does the Church over its Catechumens ; 
but they invoke devils, and she invokes God against 
devils. Greeks dedicate images to devils, and call them 
gods ; but we to True God Incarnate, and to God's servants 
and friends, who drive away the troops of devils." 9 Again, 
" As the holy leathers overthrow the temples and shrines 
of the devils, and raised in their places shrines in the 
Do Imag. i. 24. 


names of Saints and wo worship them, so also they over- 
threw the images of the devils, and in their stead raised 
images of Christ, and God's Mother, and the Saints. And 
under the Old Covenant, Israel neither raised temples in 
tlie name of men, nor was memory of man made a festival ; 
for, as yet, man's nature was under a curse, and death was 
condemnation, and therefore was lamented, and a corpse 
was reckoned unclean and he who touched it ; hut now 
that the Godhead has been combined with our nature, as 
some life-giving and saving medicine, our nature has been 
glorified and is trans- elemented into incorruption. Where- 
fore the death of Saints is made a feast, and temples are 
raised to them, and Images are painted. . . For the Image 
is a triumph, and a manifestation, and a monument in 
memory of the victory of those who have done nobly and 
excelled, and of the shame of the devils defeated and over- 
thrown." Once more, "If because of the Law thou dost 
forbid Images, you will soon have to sabbatize and be 
circumcised, for these ordinances the Law commands as 
indispensable ; nay, to observe the whole law, and not to 
keep the festival o the Lord's Pascha out of Jerusalem : 
but know that if you keep the Law, Christ hath profited 

you nothing But away with this, for whoever of 

you are justified in the Law have fallen from grace." l 


It is quite consistent with the tenor of these remarks to 
observe, or to allow, that real superstitions have sometimes 
obtained in parts of Christendom from its intercourse with, 
the heathen ; or have even been admitted, or all but ad- 
mitted, though commonly resisted strenuously, by autho- 
rities in the Church, in consequence of the resemblance 
which exists between the heathen rites and certain portions 
of her ritual. As philosophy has at times corrupted her 

i Ibid. ii. 11. 14 



divines, so Las paganism corrupted her worshippers ; and 
as the more intellectual have been involved in heresy, so 
have the ignorant been corrupted by superstition. Thus 
St. Chrysostom is vehement against the superstitious 
usages which Jews and Gentiles were introducing amono 
Christians at Antioch and Constantinople. " What shall 
we say/' he asks in one place, " about the amulets and 
bells which are hung upon the hands, and the scarlet 
woof, and other things full of such extreme folly ; when 
they ought to invest the child with nothing else save the 
protection of the Cross ? But now that is despised which 
hath converted the whole world, and given the sore wound 
to the devil, and overthrown all his power ; while the 
thread, and the woof, and the other amulets of that kind, 
are entrusted with the child's safety/' After mentioning 
further superstitions, he proceeds, "Now that among 
Greeks such things should bo done, is no wonder ; but 
among the worshippers of the Cross, and partakers in un- 
speakable mysteries, and professors of such morality, that 
such unseemliness should prevail, this is especially to be 
deplored again and again." 2 

And in like manner St. Augustine suppressed the feasts 
called Agapoo, which had been allowed the African Chris- 
tians , on their first conversion. "It is time," he says, 
" for men who dare not deny that they are Christians, to 
begin to live according to the will of Christ, and, now 
being Christians, to reject what was only allowed that 
they might become Christians." The people objected the 
example of the Vatican Church at llome, where such 
feasts wore observed every day ; St. Augustine answered, 
** I have heard that it has been often prohibited, but the 
place is far off from the Bishop's abode (the Lateran), and 
in so large a city there is a multitude of carnal persons, 
especially of strangers who resort daily thither." 3 And 

Horn. xii. in Cor. 1, Oxf. Tr, floury. Hist. xx. 11, Oxf. Tr. 


in like manner it certainly is possible that tlie conscious- 
ness of the sanctifying power in Christianity may have 
acted as a temptation to sins, whether of deceit or of 
violence ; as if the habit or state of grace destroyed the 
sinfulness of certain acts, or as if the end justified the 


It is but enunciating in other words the principle we 
are tracing, to say that the Church has been entrusted 
with the dispensation of grace. For if she can convert 
heathen appointments into spiritual rites and usages, what 
is this but to be in possession of a treasure, and to exercise 
a discretionary power in its application ? Hence there 
has been from the first much variety and change, in the 
Sacramental acts and instruments which she has used. 
"While the Eastern and African Churches baptized heretics 
on their reconciliation, the Church of Rome, as the Catholic 
Church- since, maintained that imposition of hands was 
sufficient, if their prior baptism had been formally 
correct. The ceremony of imposition of hands was used 
on various occasions with a distinct meaning ; at the rite 
of Catechumens, on admitting heretics, in Confirmation, 
in Ordination, in Benediction. Baptism was sometimes 
administered by immersion, sometimes by infusion. Infant 
Baptism was not at first enforced as afterwards. Children or 
even infants were admitted to the Eucharist in the African 
Church and the rest of the West, as now in the Greek. 
Oil had various uses, as for healing the sick, or as in the 
rite of extreme unction. Indulgences in works or in 
periods of penance, had a different meaning, according to 
circumstances. In like manner the Sign of the Cross was 
one of the earliest means of grace ; then holy seasons, and 
holy places, and pilgrimage to them; holy water; pre- 
scribed prayers, or other observances; garments, as the 


scapular, and sacred vestments ; the rosary ; the crucifix. 
And for some wise purpose doubtless, such as that of 
showing the power of the Church in the dispensation of 
divine grace, as well as the perfection and spirituality of 
theEucharistic Presence, the Chalice is in the West with- 
held from all but the celebrant in the Holy Eucharist. 


^ Since it has been represented as if the power of assimila- 
tion, spoken of in this Chapter, is in my meaning nothing 
more than a mere accretion of doctrinesor rites from without 
I am led to quote the following passage in further illustra- 
tion of it from my " Essays," vol. ii. p. 231 : 

"The phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this : That 
great. portion of what is generally received as Christian truth 
is, in its rudiments or in its separate parts, to be found in 
heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine 
of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West ; so is 
the ceremony of washing ; so is the rite of sacrifice/ The 
doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic ; the doctrine of tho 
Incarnation is Indian ; of a divine kingdom is Judaic ; of 
Angels and demons is Magian ; tho connexion of sin with the 
body is Gnostic; celibacy in known to Uonzeand Talapoin; a 
sacerdotal order is Egyptian ; the idea of a new birth' is 
Chinese and Eleuainian ; belief in sacramental virtue is Py- 
thagorean; and honours to the dead are a polytheism. Such 
IB the general nature of tho fact before UR; Mr. Milman argues 
from it, * These things are in heathenism, therefore they are 
not Christian:' we, on the eontraiy, prefer to say, 'these 
things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.' 
That is, we prefer to Fay, and -wo Hunk that Scripture boars 
us out in Haying, that from tho beginning the Moral Governor 
of the world has scattered the seeds of truth far and wide over 
its extent; that these have variously taken root, and grown 
up as iu tho wilderness, wild plants indeed -but Hving; and 
licnce that, as tho inferior animals have tokens of an immaterial 


principle in them, yet have not souls, so the philosophies and 
religions of men have their life in certain true ideas, though 
they are not directly divine. What man is amid the hrute crea- 
tion, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and 
as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church 
from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting 
the doctrines she found there. She began in Chaldea, and then 
sojourned among the Canaanites, and went down into Egypt, 
and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. 
Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom 
of the East country, and the luxury of Sheba, Then she was 
carried away to Babylo.n, and wandered to the schools of Greece. 
And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was 
a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High; ' sitting 
in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them 
questions f claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting 
their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, 
expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them 
enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. 
So far then from her creed being of doubtful credit because it 
resembles foreign theologies, we even hold that one special 
way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us 
has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out 
of the world, and, in this sense, as in others, to * suck the 
milk of the Gentiles and to suck the breast of kings.' 

" How far in fact this process has gone, is a question of his- 
tory; and we believe it has before now been grossly exagge^ 
rated and misrepresented by those who, like Mr. Milman, have 
thought that its existence told against Catholic doctrine; but 
so little antecedent difficulty have we in the matter, that we 
could readily grant, unless it were a question of fact not of 
theory, that Balaam was an Eastern sage, or a Sibyl was in- 
spired, or Solomon learnt of the sons of Mahol, or Moses was a 
scholar of the Egyptian hierophants. We are not distressed 
to be told that the doctrine of the angelic host came from 
Babylon, while we know that they did sing at the Nativity; 
nor that the vision of a Mediator is in Philo, if in very deed 



He died for us on Calvary. Nor are we afraid to allow, that, 
even after His coming, the Church has been a treasure-house, 
giving forth things old and new, casting the gold of fresh tribu- 
taries into her refiner's fire, or stamping upon her own, as time 
required it, a deeper impress of her Master's image. 

" The distinction between these two theories is broad and 
obvious. The advocates of the one imply that Revelation was 
a single, entire, solitary act, or nearly so, introducing a certain 
message; whereas we, who maintain the other, consider that 
Divine teaching has been in fact, what the analogy of nature 
would lead us to expect, *at sundry times and in divers 
manners,* various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of 
itself. We consider the Christian doctrine, when analyzed, 
to appear, like the human frame, * fearfully and wonderfully 
made;' but they think it some one tenet or certain principles 
given out at one time in their fulness, without gradual enlarge- 
ment before Christ's coming or elucidation afterwards. They 
cast off all that they also find in Pharisee or heathen; we con- 
ceive that the Church, like Aaron's rod, devours the serpents 
of the magicians. They are ever hunting for a fabulous primi- 
tive simplicity; we repose in Catholic fulness. They seek 
what never has been found; we accept and use what oven thay 
acknowledge to bo a substance. They arc driven to maintain, 
on their part, that the Church's doctrine was never pure; we 
f-ay that it can never be corrupt. We consider that a divine 
promise keeps the Church Catholic from doctrinal corruption ; 
but on what promise, or on what encouragement, they are 
seeking for their visionary purity does not appear," 




LOGICAL Sequence has been set down above as a fourth 
tost of fidelity in development, and shall now be briefly 
illustrated in the history of Christian doctrine. That is, 
I mean to give instances of one doctrine leading to another ; 
so that, if the former be admitted, the latter can hardly be 
denied, and the latter can hardly be called a corruption 
without taking exception to the former. And I use 
" logical sequence" in contrast both to that process of 
incorporation and assimilation which was last under 
review, and also to that principle of science, which has put 
into order and defended the developments after they have 
been made. Accordingly it will include any progress of 
the mind from one judgment to another, as, for instance, 
by way of moral fitness, which may not admit of analysis 
into premiss and conclusion. Thus St. Peter argued in 
the case of Cornelius and his friends, " Can any man forbid 
water that these should not be baptized, which have re- 
ceived the Holy Ghost as well as we ? " 

Such is the series of doctrinal truths, which start from 
the dogma of our Lord's Divinity, and again from such 
texts of Scripture as et Thou art Peter," and which I should 


have introduced here, had I not already used them for a 
previous purpose in the Fourth Chapter. I shall confine 
myself then for an example to the instance of the develop- 
ments which follow on tho consideration of sin after 
Baptism, a subject which was touched upon in the same 

1. Pardons. 

It is not necessary hero to enlarge on the benefits 
which the primitive Church hold to be conveyed to the 
soul by means of the Sacrament of Baptism. Its distin- 
guishing gift, which is in point to mention, was the 
plenary forgiveness of sins past. It was also held that 
tho Sacrament could not be repeated. The question, 
immediately followed, how, since there was but "one 
Baptism for the remission of sin.s," tho guilt of such sin 
was to be removed as was incurred after its administra- 
tion. There must be some provision in tho revealed system 
for so obvious a need. What could bo done for those who 
had received tho one remission of &in, and had sinned 
since? Some who thought upon the subject appear to 
have conceived that tho Church WUB empowered to grant 
one, and one only, reconciliation after grievous offences. 
Three sins seemed to many, at least in the West, to be 
Irremissible, idolatry, murder, and adultery. But such 
a system of Church discipline, howbvcr suited to a small 
community, and even expedient in a time of persecution, 
could not exist in Christianity, as it spread into the orbts 
terrarum>) and gathered like a not of every kind. A more 
indulgent rule gradually gained ground; yet the Spanish 
Church adhered to tho ancient even in the fourth century, 
and a portion of the African in the third, and in the 
remaining portion there was a relaxation only as regards 
the crime of incontinence. 

SECT. I. 2.] H3KANCES. G85 


Meanwhile a protest was made against the growing 
innovation : at the beginning of the third century Mon- 
tanus, who was a zealot for the more primitive rule, 
shrank from the laxity, as he considered it, of the Asian 
Churches j 1 as, in a different subject-matter, Jovinian and 
Tigilantius were offended at the developments in divine 
worship in the century which followed. The Montanists 
had recourse to the See of Rome, and at first with some 
appearance of success. Again, in Africa, where there had 
been in the first instance a schism headed by Felicissimus 
in favour of a milder discipline than St. Cyprian approved, 
a far more formidable stand was soon made in favour of 
Antiquity, headed by Novatus, who originally had been 
of the party of Felicissimus. This was taken up at Rome 
by Novatian, who professed to adhere to the original, or 
at least the primitive rule of the Church, viz. that those 
who had once fallen from the faith could in no case be 
received again. 2 The controversy seems to have found the 
following issue, whether the Church had the means of 
pardoning sins committed after Baptism, which the Nova- 
tians, at least practically, denied. " It is fitting/' says 
the Novatian Acesius, " to exhort those who have sinned 
after Baptism to repentance, but to expect hope of remis- 
sion, not from the priests, but from God, who hath power 
to forgive sins." 3 The schism spread into the East, and 
led to the appointment of a penitentiary priest in the 
Catholic Churches. By the end of the third century as 
many as four degrees of penance were appointed, through 
which offenders had to pass in order to a reconciliation, 

2. Penances, 
The length and severity of the penance varied with 

* Gieseler, Text-book, vol. i. p. 108. 2 Gieseler, ibid. p. 164 

* Socr. Hist. i. 10. 

C C 


times and places. Sometimes, as we have seen, it lasted, 
in tlie case of grave offences, through life and on to 
death, without any reconciliation ; at other times it ended 
only in the viaticum; and if, after reconciliation they did 
not die, their ordinary penance was still binding on them 
either for life or for a certain time. In other cases it 
lasted ten, fifteen, or twenty years. But in all cases, from 
the first, the Bishop had the power of shortening it, and 
of altering the nature and quality of the punishment. 
Thus in the instance of the Emperor Theodosius, whom 
St. Ambrose shut out from communion for the massacre 
at Thessalonica, " according to the mildest rules of ecclesi- 
astical discipline, which were established in the fourth 
century," says Gibbon, " the crime of homicide was ex- 
piated by the penitence of twenty years; and as it was 
impossible, in the period of human life, to purge the 
accumulated guilt of the massacre . . . tho murderer 
should have been excluded from the holy communion till 
the hour of his death." He goes on to say that the public 
edification which resulted from the humiliation of so illus- 
trious a penitent was a reason for abridging the punish- 
ment, "It was sufficient that the Emperor of the 
Romans, stripped of the ensigns of royalty, should appear 
in a mournful and suppliant posture, and that, in the 
midst of the Church of Milan, he should humbly solicit 
with sighs and tears the pardon of his sins/* His penance 
was shortened to an interval of about eight months. Hence 
arose the phrase of a "poenitentia leyitima, plena, etjuttaf 
which signifies a penance sufficient, perhaps in length of 
time, perhaps in intensity of punishment. 

3. Satisfactions. 

Here a serious question presented itself to the minds 
of Christians, which was now to be wrought out ; Were , 


these punishments merely signs of contrition, or in any 
sense satisfactions for sin ? If the former, they might be 
absolutely remitted at the discretion of the Church, as 
soon as true repentance was discovered ; the end had then 
been attained, and nothing more was necessary. Thus 
St. Chrysostom says in one of his Homilies, 4 " I require 
not continuance of time, but tl^e correction of the soul. 
Show your contrition, show your reformation, and all is 
done/' Yet, though there might be a reason of the moment 
for shortening the penance imposed by the Church, this 
does not at all decide the question whether that ecclesias- 
tical penance be not part of an expiation made to the 
Almighty Judge for the sin ; and supposing this really to 
be the case, the question follows, How is the complement 
of that satisfaction to be wrought out, which on just 
grounds of present expedience has been suspended by the 
Church now ? 

As to this question, it cannot be doubted that the 
Fathers considered penance as not a mere expression of 
contrition, but as an act done directly towards God and a 
means of averting His anger. " If the sinner spare not 
himself, he will be spared by God," says the writer who 
goes under the name of St. Ambrose. ee Let him lie in 
sackcloth, and by the austerity of his life make amends 
for the offence of his past pleasures,*" says St. Jerome. 
" As we have sinned greatly," says St. Cyprian, " let us 
weep greatly ; for a deep wound diligent and long tending 
must not be wanting, the repentance must not fall short 
of the offence." "Take heed to thyself," says St. Basil, 
"that, in proportion to the fault, thou admit also the 
restoration from the remedy." 5 If so, the question fol- 
lows which was above contemplated, if in consequence 
of death, or in the exercise of the Church/ s discretion, the 

4 Horn. 14, in 2 Cor. fin. 

* Vid. Tertull. Oxf. tr. pp. 874, S. 

c c 2 


*- 1 

"plena poenitentia " is not accomplished in its ecclesiastical 
shape, how and when will the residue be exacted ? 

| 4. Purgatory. 

Clement of Alexandria answers this particular question 
very distinctly, according to Bishop Kaye, though not 
in some other points expressing himself conformably to 
the doctrine afterwards received. " Clement/' says that 
author, "distinguishes between sins committed before 
and after baptism : the former are remitted at baptism ; 
the latter are purged by discipline. . . . The necessity of 
this purifying discipline is such, that if it does not take 
place in this life, it must after death, and is then to be 
effected by fire, not by a destructive, but a discriminating 
fire, pervading the soul which passes through it." ft 

There is a celebrated passage in St. Cyprian, on the 
subject of the punishment of lapsed Christians, which 
certainly seems to express the same doctrine. " St. Cyprian 
is arguing in favour of readmitting the lapsed, when 
penitent ; and his argument seems to be that it does not 
follow that we absolve them simply because we simply re- 
store them to the Church. He writes thus to Antonian : 
* It is one thing to stand for pardon, another to arrive at 
glory ; one to be sent to prison (missum in carcerem) and 
not to go out till the last farthing be paid, another to re- 
ceive at once the reward of faith and virtue ; one thing 
to be tormented for sin in long pain, and so to be cleansed 
and purged a long while by fire (purgari diu igne), 
another to be washed from all sin in martyrdom; orie 
thing, in short, to wait for the Lord's sentence in the 
Day of Judgment, another at once to be crowned- \)y Him.' 
Some understand this passage to refer to the penitential 
discipline of the Church which was imposed onlthe peni- 
* Clem. ch. 12. Vid. also Tcrfcull. de Anim. fin, I 

SECT, I, 4.] PUKGATORY. 389 

tent ; and, as far as the context goes, certainly no sense 
could be more apposite. Yet . . . the words in themselves 
seem to go beyond any mere ecclesiastical, though virtu- 
ally divine censure ; especially * missum in carcerem ' and 
'purgari dm igw. 9 " 7 


The Acts of the Martyrs St. Perpetua and St. Felicitasj 
which are prior to St. Cyprian, confirm this interpretation. 
In the course of the narrative, St. Perpetua prays for 
her brother Dinocrates, who had died at the age of seven ; 
and has a vision of a dark place, and next of a pool of 
water, which he was not tall enough to reach. She goes 
on praying ; and in a second vision the water descended 
to him, and he was able to drink, and went to play as 
children use. " Then I knew," she says, " that he was 
translated from his place of punishment. 1 " 8 

The prayers in the Eucharistic Service for the faithful 
departed, inculcate, at least according to the belief of 
the fourth century, the same doctrine, that the sins of 
accepted and elect souls, which were not expiated here, 
would receive punishment hereafter. Certainly such was 
St. Cyril's belief: " I know that many say," he observes, 
" what is a soul profited, which departs from this world 
either with sins or without sins, if it be commemorated 
in the [Eueharistic] Prayer ? Now, surely, if when a 
king had banished certain who had given him offence, 
their connexions should weave a crown and offer it to 
him on behalf of those under his vengeance, would he not 
grant a respite to their punishments ? In the same way 
we, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who 
have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, weave no 
crown, but offer up Christ, sacrificed for our sins, pro- 

7 Tracts for the Times, No. 79, p. 38, 

8 Euinart, Mart, p. 96. 


pitiating our merciful God, both for them and for our- 
selves/' 9 


Thus we see how, as time went on, the doctrine of Pur- 
gatory was brought home to the minds of the faithful as a 
portion or form of Penance due for post-baptismal sin. 
And thus the apprehension of this doctrine and the practice 
of Infant Baptism would grow into general reception toge- 
ther. Cardinal Fisher gives another reason for Purgatory 
being then developed out of earlier points of faith. He 
says, "Faith, whether in Purgatory or in Indulgences, 
was not so necessary in the Primitive Church as now. 
For then love so burned, that every one was ready td 
meet death for Christ. Crimes were rare, and such as 
occurred were avenged by the great severity of the 
Canons." l 


An author, who quotes this passoge, analyzes the cir- 
cumstances and the reflections which prepared the Chris- 
tian mind for the doctrine, when it was first insisted on, 
and his remarks with a few corrections may be accepted 
here. " Most men," he says, " to our apprehensions, are 
too little formed in religious habits either for heaven or 
for hell, yet there is no middle state when Christ comes 
in judgment. In consequence it is obvious to have re- 
course to the interval before His coming, as a time 
during which this incompleteness may be remedied ; as 
a season, not of changing the spiritual bent and character 
of the soul departed, whatever that be, for probation ends 
with mortal life, but of developing it in a more determi- 
nate form, whether of good or of evil. Again, when the 
mind once allows itself to speculate, it will discern in such 

Hystagog. 5. * [Vid. Via Media, vol. i, p 72.] 


a provision a means, whereby those, who, not without true 
faith at bottom, yet have committed great crimes, or those 
who have been carried off in youth while still undecided, 
or who die after a barren though not an immoral or 
scandalous life, may receive such chastisement as may 
prepare them for heaven, and render it consistent with 
God's justice to admit them thither. Again, the inequality 
of the sufferings of Christians in this life, compared one 
with another, leads the mind to the same speculations ; 
the intense suffering, for instance, which some men 
undergo on their death-bed, seeming as if but an anti- 
cipation in their case of what comes after death upon 
others, who, without greater claim on God's forbearance, 
live without chastisement, and die easily. The mind will 
inevitably dwell upon such thoughts, unless it has been 
taught to subdue them by education or by the fear or 
the experience of their dangerousness. 

. 5. 

"Various suppositions have, accordingly, been made, 
as pure suppositions, as mere specimens of the capabilities 
(if one may so speak) of the Divine Dispensation, as 
efforts of the mind reaching forward and venturing be- 
yond its depth into the abyss of the Divine Counsels. If 
one supposition could be hazarded, sufficient to solve the 
problem, the existence of ten thousand others is con- 
ceivable, unless indeed the resources of God's Providence 
are exactly commensurate with man's discernment of them. 
Religious men, amid these searchings of heart, have 
naturally gone to Scripture for relief; to see if the in- 
spired word anywhere gave them any clue for their 
inquiries. And from what was there found, and from 
the speculations of reason upon it, various notions have 
been hazarded at different times ; for instance, that there is 
a certain momentary ordeal to be undergone by all men 


after this life, more or less severe according to their 
spiritual state ; or that certain gross sins in good men 
will be thus visited, or their lighter failings and habitual 
imperfections; or that the very sight of Divine Perfec- 
tion in the invisible world will be in itself a pain, while 
it constitutes the purification of the imperfect but believing 
soul ; or that, happiness admitting of various degrees of in- 
tensity, penitents late in life may sink for ever into a state, 
blissful as far as it goes, but more or less approaching to 
unconsciousness ; and infants dying after baptism may 
be as gems paving the courts of heaven, or as the living 
wheels of the Prophet's vision ; while matured Saints may 
excel in capacity of bliss, as well as in dignity, the highest 

" Now, as to the punishments and satisfactions for sin, 
the texts to which the minds of the early Christians seem 
to have been principally drawn, and from which they 
ventured to arguo in behalf of those vague notions, were 
these two : ' The fire shall try every man's work/ &c., and 
'He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire/ 
These passages, with which many more were found to 
accord, directed their thoughts one way, as making men- 
tion of ' fire/ whatever was meant by the word, as the 
instrument of trial and purification ; and that, at some 
time between the present time and the Judgment, or at 
the Judgment. 

"As the doctrine, thus suggested by certain striking 
texts, grow in popularity and definitencss, and verged to- 
wards its present Roman form, it seemed a key to many 
others. Great portions of the books of Psalms, Job, and 
the Lamentations, which express the feelings of religious 
men under suffering, would powerfully recommend it by 
the forcible and most affecting and awful meaning which 


they received from it* "When this was once suggested, 
all other meanings would seem tame and inadequate, 

"To these may be added various passages from the 
Prophets, as that in the beginning of the third chapter 
of Malachi, which speaks of fire as the instrument of 
judgment and purification, when Christ comes to visit His 

" Moreover, there were other texts of obscure and inde- 
terminate bearing, which seemed on this hypothesis to re- 
ceive a profitable meaning ; such as our Lord's words in the 
Sermon on the Mount, * Verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt 
by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the utter- 
most farthing ;' and St. John's expression in the Apoca- 
lypse, that ' no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under 
the earth, was able to open the book/ " 2 


"When then an answer had to be made to the question, 
how is post-baptismal sin to be remitted, there was an 
abundance of passages in Scripture to make easy to the 
faith of the inquirer the definitive decision of the Church. 

5, Meritorious Works. 

The doctrine of post-baptismal sin, especially when 
realized in the doctrine of Purgatory, leads the inquirer to 
fresh developments beyond itself. Its effect is to convert 
a Scripture statement, which might seem only of temporary 
application, into a universal and perpetual truth. When 
St. Paul and St. Barnabas would " confirm the souls of 
the disciples," they taught them " that we must through 
much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." It is 
obvious what very practical results would follow on such 
an announcement, in the instance of those who simply 

2 [Via Media, vol. i. pp. 174 -177.] 


accepted the Apostolic decision; and in like manner a 
conviction that sin must have its punishment, here or 
hereafter, and that we all must suffer, how overpowering 
will be its effect, what a new light does it cast on the his- 
tory of the soul, what a change does it make in our 
judgment of the external world, what a reversal of our 
natural wishes and aims for the future ! Is a doctrine 
conceivable which would so elevate the mind above this 
present state, and teach it so successfully to dare difficult 
things, and to be reckless of danger and pain ? He who 
believes that suffer he must, and that delayed punishment 
may be the greater, will be above the world, will admire 
nothing, fear nothing, desire nothing. He has within 
his breast a source of greatness, self-denial, heroism. This 
is the secret spring of strenuous efforts and persevering 
toil, of the sacrifice of fortune, friends, case, reputation, 
happiness. There is, it is true, a higher class of motives 
which will be felt by the Saint ; who will do from love 
what all Christians, who act acceptably, do from faith. 
And, moreover, the ordinary measures of charity which 
Christians possess, suffice for securing such respectable 
attention to religious dutic.8 as the routine necessities of 
the Church require. But if w would raise an army of 
devoted men to resist the world, to oppose sin and error, 
to relieve misery, or to propagate the truth, we must be 
provided with motives which keenly affect the many. 
Christian love is too rare a gift, philanthropy is too weak a 
material, for the occasion. Nor is there an influence to bo 
found to suit our purpose, besides 'this solemn conviction, 
which arises out of the vory rudiments of Christian theo- 
logy, and is taught by its most ancient masters, this 
sense of the awful ness of post-baptismal sin. It IB in vain 
to look out for missionaries for China or Africa, or evange- 
lists for our great towns, or Christian attendants on the sick, 
or teachers of the ignorant, on such a scale of numbers as tho 


need requires, without the doctrine of Purgatory. For 
thus the sins of youth are turned to account by the profit- 
able penance of manhood ; and terrors, which the philo- 
sopher scorns in the individual, become the benefactors 
and earn the gratitude of nations. 

6. The Monastic Rule. 

But there is one form of Penance which has been 
more prevalent and uniform than any other, out of which 
the forms just noticed have grown, or on which they have 
been engrafted, -the Monastic Eule. In the first ages, the 
doctrine of the punishments of sin, whether in this world 
or in the next, was little called for. The rigid discipline 
of the infant Church was the preventive of greater offences, 
and its persecutions the penance of their commission ; but 
when, the Canons were relaxed and confessorship ceased, 
then some substitute was needed, and such was Monachism, 
being at once a sort of continuation of primeval innocence, 
and a school of self-chastisement. And, as it is a great 
principle in economical and political science that every- 
thing should be turned to account, and there should be no 
waste, so, in the instance of Christianity, the penitential 
observances of individuals, which were necessarily on a 
large scale as its professors increased, took the form of 
works, whether for the defence of the Church, or the 
spiritual and temporal good of mankind. 


In no aspect of the Divine system do we see more striking 
developments than in the successive fortunes of Monachism. 
Little did the youth Antony foresee, when he set off to 
fight the evil one in the wilderness, what a sublime and 
various history he was opening, a history which had its 
first developments even in his own lifetime. He was 


himself a hermit in the desert ; hut when others followed 
his example, he was obliged to give them guidance, and 
thus he found himself, hy degrees, at the head of a large 
family of solitaries, five thousand of whom were scattered 
in the district of Nitria alone. He lived to see a second 
stage in the development ; the huts in which they lived 
were brought together, sometimes round a church, and a 
sort of subordinate community, or college, formed among 
certain individuals of their number. St. Pachomius was 
the first who imposed a general rule of discipline upon the 
brethren, gave them a common clress, and set before them 
the objects to which the religious life was dedicated. 
Manual labour, study, devotion, bodily mortification, were 
now their peculiarities ; and the institution, thus defined, 
spread and established itself through Eastern and Western 

The penitential character of Monachism is not prominent 
in St. Antony, though it is distinctly noticed by Pliuy in. 
his description of the Essence of tho Dead Sea, who 
anticipated the monastic life at the rise of Christianity, 
In St. Basil, however, it becomes a distinguishing feature; 
so much so that the monastic profession was made a dis- 
qualification for the pastoral office/ and iu theory involved 
an absolute separation from mankind; though in Sfc* Basil's, 
as well as St. Antony's disciples, it performed the office of 
resisting heresy. 

Next, the monasteries, which in their ecclesiastical 
capacity had been at first separate churches under a Pres- 
byter or Abbot, became schools for the education of the 
clergy. 4 

3. . 

Centuries passed, and after many extravagant shapes of 
the institution, and much wildness and insubordination, in 
Giosder, vol. ii. p. 288. 4 Ibid. p. 279. 


its members, a new development took place under St. 
Benedict. Revising and digesting the provisions of St. 
Antony, St. Pachomius, and St. Basil, he bound together 
his monks by a perpetual vow, brought them into the 
cloister, united the separate convents into one Order/ and 
added objects of an ecclesiastical and civil nature to 
that of personal edification. Of these objects, agriculture 
seemed to St. Benedict himself of first importance ; but in 
a very short time it was superseded by study and educa- 
tion, and the monasteries of the following centuries 
became the schools and libraries, and the monks the chroni- 
clers and copyists, of a dark period. Centuries later, the 
Benedictine Order was divided into separate Congrega- 
tions, and propagated in separate monastic bodies. The 
Congregation of Cluni was the most celebrated of the 
former ; and of the latter, the hermit order of the Camal- 
doli and the agricultural Cistercians, 


Both a unity and an originality are observable in the suc- 
cessive phases under which Monachism has shown itself ; 
and while its developments bring it more and more into 
the ecclesiastical system, and subordinate it to the govern- 
ing power, they are true to their first idea, and spring 
fresh and fresh from the parent stock, which from time 
immemorial had thriven in Syria and Egypt The sheep- 
skin and desert of St. Antony did but revive "the mantle" 6 
and the mountain of the first Carmelite, and St. Basil's 
penitential exercises had already been practised by the 
Therapeuta}. In like manner the Congregational principle, 
which is ascribed to St. Benedict, had been anticipated 

* Or rather his successors, as St. Benedict of Anian, -were the founders 
of the Order ; but minute accuracy on these points is unnecessary in a 
mere sketch of the history. 

6 JM)\T^S, 2 Kings ii. Sept. Vid, also, "They wandered about in sheep- 
Bkins and goatskins " (Heh. xi. 37). 


by St. Antony and St. Pachomius ; and after centuries of 
disorder, another function of early Monachisra, for which 
there had been little call for centuries, the defence of 
Catholic truth, was exercised with singular success by the 
rival orders of Dominicans and Franciscans. 

St. Benedict had come as if to preserve a principle of 
civilization, and a refuge for learning, at a timo when the 
old framework of society was falling, and new political 
creations were taking their place. And when tho young 
intellect within them began to stir, and a change of another 
kind discovered itself, then appeared St. Francis and St. 
Dominic to teach and chastise it ; and in proportion as 
Monachism assumed this public office, so did tho principle 
of penance, which had been the chief characteristic of its 
earlier forms, hold a less prominent place. Tho Tortiaries 
indeed, or members of the third order of St. Francis and 
St. Dominic, wore penitents ; but the friar himself, instead 
of a penitent, was made a priost, and was allowed to quit 
cloister. Nay, they assumed tho character of what may bo 
called an Ecumenical Order, as being nupportecl by begging, 
not by endowments, and being under tho jurisdiction, not 
of the local Bishop, but of the Holy Sec. Tho Dominicans 
too came forward especially an a learned body, and us en- 
trusted with the office of preaching, at a time when the 
jniud of Europe soomed to bo developing- into infidelity. 
They filled tho chairs at tho UnivcrsitieR, while the 
strength of the Franciscans lay among the lower orders* 


At length, in tho last era of ecclesiastical revolution, 
another principle of early Monachism, which had boon 
but partially developed, was brought out into singular 
prominence in tho history of tho Jesuits. *' Obedience/* 
said an ancient abbot, "is a monk's service, with which he 
shall bo heard in prayer, and shall (stand with confidence 


by tlie Crucified, for so the Lord came to the cross, being 
made obedient even unto death;" 7 but it was reserved for 
modern times to furnish the perfect illustration of this 
virtue, and to receive the full blessing which follows it. 
The great Society, which bears no earthly name, still 
more secular in its organization, and still more simply 
dependent on the See of St. Peter, has been still more 
distinguished than any Order before it for the rule of 
obedience, while it has compensated the danger of its free 
intercourse with the world by its scientific adherence to 
devotional exercises. The hermitage, the cloister, the 
inquisitor, and the friar were suited to other states of 
society; with the Jesuits, as well as with the religious 
Communities, which are their juniors, usefulness, secular 
and religious, literature, education, the confessional, 
preaching, the oversight of the poor, missions, the care of 
the sick, have been chief objects of attention ; great cities 
have been the scene of operation : bodily austerities and 
the ceremonial of devotion have been made of but secon- 
dary importance. Yet it may fairly be questioned, 
whether, in an intellectual age, when freedom both of 
thought and of action is so dearly prized, a greater 
penance can be devised for the soldier of Christ than the 
absolute surrender of judgment and will to the command 
of another. 

9 Rosweyde. V. P. p. 618, 




IT has boon sot down above as a fifth argument in favour 
of the fidelity of developments, ethical or political, if 
the doctrine irora which they have proceeded has, in any 
early stage of its history, given indications of those 
opinions and practices in which it has ended. Supposing 
then the so-called Catholic doctrines and practices are true 
and legitimate developments, and not corruptions, wo may 
expect from the force of logic to find instances of them in 
the first centuries. And this I conceive to be the case ; 
the records indeed of those times are, scanty, and we have 
little means of determining what daily Christian life then 
was : we know little of the thoughts, and the prayers, and 
the meditations, and the discourses of the early disciples of 
Christ, at a time when these professed developments were 
not recognised and duly located in the theological system ; 
yet it appears, even from what remains, that the atmo- 
sphere of the Church was, as it were, charged with them 
from the first, and delivered itself of them from time to 
time, in this way or that, in various places and persons, as 
occasion elicited them, testifying the presence of a vast 
body of thought within it, which -one day would tako shape 
and position. 


L Resurrection and Relics. 

As a chief specimen of what I am pointing out, I will 
direct attention to a characteristic principle of Christianity, 
whether in the East or in the West, which is at present 
both a special stuinbling-block and a subject of scoffing 
with Protestants and free-thinkers of every shade and 
colour : I mean the devotions which both Greeks and Latins 
show towards bones, blood, the heart, the hair, bits of 
clothes, scapulars, cords, medals, beads, and the like, and the 
miraculous powers which they often ascribe to them. Wow, 
the principle from which these beliefs and usages proceed 
is the doctrine that Matter is susceptible of grace, or capa- 
ble of a union with a Divine Presence and influence. This 
principle, as we shall see, was in the first age both ener- 
getically manifested and variously developed ; and that 
chiefly in consequence of the diametrically opposite 
doctrine of the schools and the religions of the day. And 
thus its exhibition in. that primitive age becomes also an 
instance of a statement often made in controversy, that 
the profession and the developments of a doctrine are 
according to the emergency of the time, and that silence 
at a certain period implies, not that it was not then held, 
but that it was not questioned. 


Christianity began by considering Matter as a creature 
of Qod 9 and in itself c< very good." It taught that Matter, 
as well as Spirit, had become corrupt, in the instance of 
Adam ; and it contemplated its recovery. It taught that 
the Highest had taken a portion of that corrupt mass upon 
Himself, in order to the sanctification of the whole ; that, as 
a firstfruits of His purpose, He had purified from all sin that 
very portion of it which He took into His Eternal Person, 
and thereunto had taken it from a Yirgin "Womb, which 

D d 


He had filled with the abundance of His Spirit. More- 
over, it taught that during His earthly sojourn He had 
"been subject to the natural infirmities of man, and had 
suffered from those ills to which flesh is heir. It taught 
that the Highest had in that flesh died on the Cross, and 
that His blood had an expiatory power ; moreover, that 
He had risen again in that flesh, and had carried that 
flesh with Him into heaven, and that from that flesh, 
glorified and deified in Him, He never would be divided. 
As a first consequence of these awful doctrines comes that 
of the resurrection of the bodies of His Saints, and of their 
future glorification with Him ; next, that of the sanctity of 
their relics ; further, that of the merit of Virginity ; and, 
lastly, that of the prerogatives of Mary, Mother of God. All 
these doctrines are more or loss developed in the Ante- 
nicene period, though in very various degrees, from the 
nature of the case. 


And they were all objects of offence or of scorn to phi- 
losophers, priests, or populace of the day. With varieties 
of opinions which need not be mentioned, it was a funda- 
mental doctrine in the schools, whether Greek or Oriental, 
that Matter was essentially evil. It had not been created 
by the Supreme God ; it was in eternal enmity with Him ; 
it was the source of all pollution ; and it was irreclaimable. 
Buch was the doctrine of Platonist, Gnostic, and Manichoe : 
whereas then St. John had laid it down that c ' every 
spirit that confcsseth not that Jesus Christ is como in the 
flesh is the spirit of Antichrist :" the Gnostics obstinately 
denied the Incarnation, and held that Christ was but a 
phantom, or had come on the man Jesus at his baptism, 
and left him at his passion. The one great topic of preach- 
ing with Apostles and Evangelists was the Eesurrection of 
Christ and of all mankind after Him ; but when the phi* 


losophers of Athens heard St. Paul, " some mocked," and 
others contemptuously put aside the doctrine. The birth 
from a Virgin implied, not only that the body was not 
intrinsically evil, but that one state of it was holier than 
another, and St. Paul explained that, while marriage was 
good, celibacy was better ; but the Gnostics, holding the 
utter malignity of Matter, one and all condemned marriage 
as sinful, and, whether they observed continence or not, 
or abstained from eating flesh or not, maintained that all 
functions of our animal nature were evil and abominable. 


*' Perish the thought," says llanes, "that our Lord 
Jesus Christ should have descended through the womb 
of a woman." "He descended," says Marcion, "but 
without touching her or taking aught from her." 
" Through her, not of her/' said another. " It is absurd 
to assert," says a disciple of Bardesanes, "that this flesh 
ia which we are imprisoned shall rise again, for it is well 
called a burden, a tomb, and a chain." " They execrate 
the funeral-pile," says Caeeilius, speaking of Christians, 
" as if bodies, though withdrawn from the flames, did not 
all resolve into dust by years, whetner beasts tear, or sea 
swallows, or earth covers, or flame wastes/' According 
to the old Paganism, both the educated and vulgar held 
corpses and sepulchres in aversion. They quickly rid 
themselves of the remains even of their friends, thinking 
their presence a pollution, and felt the same terror even of 
burying-places which assails the ignorant and superstitious 
now. It is recorded of Hannibal that, on his return to 
the African coast from Italy, he changed his landing-place 
to avoid a ruined sepulchre. " May the god who passes 
between heaven and hell," says Apuleius in his Apokgy> 
" present to thy eyes, Emilian, all that haunts the 
night, all that alarms in burying-places, all that terrifies 

D d 2 


ia tombs." George of Oappadocia could not direct a more 
Litter taunt against the Alexandrian Pagans than to call 
the temple of Serapis a sepulchre. The case had been the 
same even among the Jews; the Rabbins taught, that 
even the corpses of holy men " did but serve to diffuse in- 
fection and defilement." "When deaths were Judaical/' 
says the writer who goes under the name of St. Basil, 
" corpses were an abomination ; when death is for Christ, 
the relics of Saints are precious. It was anciently said to 
the Priests and the -JSTuzarites, ' If any one shall touch a 
corpse, he shall be unclean till evening, and he shall wash 
his garment f now, on the contrary, if any one shall touch 
a Martyr's bones, by reason of the grace dwelling in the 
body, he receives some participation of his sanctity." 1 
Way, Christianity taught a reverence for the bodies even 
of heathen. The care of the dead is one of the praises 
which, as we have seen above, is extorted in their favour 
from the Emperor Julian ; and it was exemplified during 
the mortality which spread through the Roman world in 
the time of St, Cyprian. " They did good/* says Pontius 
of the Christians of Carthage, " in the profusion of exube- 
rant works to all, and not only to the household of faith. 
They did somewhat more than is recorded of the incom- 
parable bonevolenco of Tobias. The slain of the king and 
the outcasts, whom Tobias gathered together, were of his 
own kin only/' 3 


Far more of course than such general reverence was the 
honour that they showed to the bodies of the Saints, They 
ascribed virtue to their martyred tabernacles, and trea- 

1 Act. Arch, p 85. Athan. c, Apoll. ii. 3. Adam. Dial iii. inife. Minuc. 
Dial 11. Apul, Apol. p. 535. Korfcholt. Cal p. 63. Calmet, Diet/, t. 2, 
p. 73(5. Basil in Ps. 115, 4 

a Vit. S, Cypr. 10, 


>h , 

sured, as something supernatural, their blood, their ashes, 
and their bones. When St. Cyprian was beheaded, his 
brethren brought napkins to soak up his blood. " Only 
the harder portion of the holy relics remained," say the 
Acts of St. Ignatius, who was exposed to the beasts in 
the amphitheatre, "which were conveyed to Antioch, and 
deposited in linen, bequeathed, by the grace that was in the 
Martyr, to that holy Church as a priceless treasure." The 
Jews attempted to deprive the brethren of St. Polycarp's 
body, " lest, leaving the Crucified, they begin to worship 
him," say his Acts; "ignorant," they continue, "that 
we can never leave Christ ;" and they add, " We, having 
taken up his bones which were more costly than piecious 
stones, and refined more than gold, deposited them where 
was fitting ; and there when we meet together, as we can, 
the Lord will grant us to celebrate with joy and gladness 
the birthday of his martyrdom." On one occasion in 
Palestine, the Imperial authorities disinterred the bodies 
and cast them, into the sea, " lest as their opinion went," 
eays Eusebius, " there should be those who in their sepul- 
chres and monuments might think them gods, and treat 
them with divine worship." 

Julian, who had been a Christian, and knew the Chris- 
tian history more intimately than a mere infidel would 
know it, traces the superstition, as he considers it, to the 
very lifetime of St. John, that is, as early as there were 
Martyrs to honour ; makes the honour paid them contem- 
poraneous with the worship paid to our Lord, and equally 
distinct and formal ; and, moreover, declares that first it 
was secret, which for various reasons it was likely to have 
been. "Neither Paul," he says, "nor Matthew, nor Luke, 
nor Mark, dared to call Jesus God; but honest John, 
having perceived that a great multitude had. been caught 
by this disease in many of the Greek and Italian cities, 
and hearing, I suppose, that the monuments of Peter and 



Paul were, secretly indeed, but still hearing that they were 
honoured, first dared to say it." "Who can feel fitting 
abomination?" he says elsewhere; "you haye filled all 
places with tombs and monuments* though it has been 
nowhere told you to tumble down at tombs or to honour 
them If Jesus said that they were full of unclean- 
ness, why do ye invoke God at them?" The tone of 
Faustus the Manichaean is the same. " Ye have turned," 
he says to St. Augustine, "the idols" of the heathen 
" into your Martyrs, whom ye honour (colitis) with similar 

It is remarkable that the attention of both Christians 
and their opponents turned from the relies of the Martyrs 
to their persons, Basilides at least, who was founder of 
one of the most impious Gnostic sects, spoke of them with 
disrespect; he considered that their sufferings wore the 
penalty of secret sins or evil desires, or transgressions com- 
mitted in another body, and a sign of divine favour only 
because they were allowed to connect them with the cause 
of Christ. 4 On the- other hand, it was the doctrine of the 
Church that Martyrdom was meritorious, .that it had a 
certain supernatural efficacy in it, and that the Hood of 
the Saints received from the grace of the One Redeemer a 
certain expiatory power. Martyrdom stood in the place of 
Baptism, where the Sacrament.had not been administered. 
It exempted the soul from all preparatory waiting, and 
gained its immediate admittance into glory. "All 
crimes are pardoned for the sake of this work/* says 

And in proportion to the near approach of the martyrs 

11 Act Procons. 6. Rumart, Act. Mart. pp. 22> 44. Euscb. Hist, viii, 6, 
Julian, ap. Cyr. pp. 327, 335, August, c. Faust xx. 4. 
* Clew. Strom, iv. 12. 


to their Almighty Judge, was their high dignity and 
power. St. Dionysius speaks of their reigning with 
Christ ; Origen even conjectures that " as we are redeemed 
by the precious blood of Jesus, so some are redeemed by 
the precious blood of the Martyrs." St. Cyprian seems 
to explain his meaning when he says, " We believe that 
the merits of Martyrs and the works of the just avail much 
with the Judge," that is, for those who were lapsed, 
" when, after the end of this age and the world, Christ's 
people shall stand before His judgment-seat." Accordingly 
they were considered to intercede for the Church militant 
in their state of glory, and for individuals whom they had 
known. St. Potamisena of Alexandria, in the first years 
of the third century, when taken out for execution, pro- 
mised to obtain after her departure the salvation of the 
officer who led her out ; and did appear to him, according 
to Eusebius, on the third day, and prophesied his own 
speedy martyrdom. And St. Theodosia in Palestine came 
to certain confessors who were in bonds, "to request them," 
as Eusebius tells us, "to remember her when they came 
to the Lord's Presence." Tertullian, when, a Montanist, 
betrays the existence of the doctrine in the Catholic body 
by protesting against it. 5 

2. The Virgin Life. 

Next to the prerogatives of bodily suffering or Martyrdom 
came, in the estimation of the early Church, the preroga- 
tives of bodily, as well as moral, purity or Virginity ; 
another form of the general principle which I am here 
illustrating. " The first reward/"' says St. Cyprian to the 
Virgins, " is for the Martyrs an hundredfold ; the second, 
sixtyfold, is for yourselves." 6 Their state and its merit is 
recognized by a consensus of the Ante-nicene writers; of 

* Tertull, Apol. fin. Euseb. Hist. vi. 42. Grig, ad Martyr. 50. Ru'marfc, 
Act. Mart. |p. 122, 323. 6 De Hab. Virg. 12. 



whom Athenagoras distinctly connects Virginity with the 
privilege of divine communion : " You will find many of 
our people," he says to the Emperor Marcus, " both men 
and women, grown old in their single state, in hope 
thereby of a closer union with God." 7 


Among the numerous authorities which might be cited, 
I will confine myself to a work, elaborate in itself, and im- 
portant from its author. St. Methodius was a Bishop and 
Martyr of the latter years of the Ante-nicene period, and 
is celebrated as the most variously endowed divine of his 
day. His learning, elegance in composition, and eloquence, 
are all commemorated. 8 The work in question, the Con- 
vivium Virginum, is a conference in which ten Virgins 
successively take part, in praise of the state of life to 
which they have themselves been specially called. I do 
not wish to deny that there are portions of it which 
strangely grate upon the feelings of an ago, which is 
formed on principles of which marriage is the centre. 
But here we are concerned with its doctrine. Of the 
speakers in this Colloquy, three at least are real persons 
prior to St. Methodius's time; of these Tliccla, whom, 
tradition associates with St. Paul, is one, and Marcella, 
who in the Eoman Breviary is considered to be St. Martha's 
servant, and who is said to have been the woman who 
exclaimed, " Blessed is the womb that bare Thee/' &c., is 
described as a still older servant of Christ* The latter 
opens the discourse, and her subject is the gradual develop- 
ment of the doctrine of Virginity in the Divine Dispensa- 
tions; Theophila, who follows, enlarges on the sanctity of 
Matrimony, with which the special glory of the higher 
state does not interfere ; Thalia discourses on the mystical 
union which exists between Christ and Ilis Church, and on 
* Athenag. Leg. 33- * Lumper, Hist, t, 13,*p, 439. 

SECT. I. 2.] THE VIRGIN Lim 409 


the seventh chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians; 
Theopatra on the merit of Virginity; Thallusa exhorts 
to a watchful guardianship of the gift ; Agatha shows the 
necessity of other virtues and good works, in order to the 
real praise of their peculiar profession; Procilla extols 
Virginity as the special instrument of becoming a spouse of 
Christ ; Thecla treats of it as the great combatant in the 
warfare between heaven and hell, good and evil ; Tysiana 
with reference to the E/esurrection ; and Domnina alle- 
gorizes Jothan's parable in Judges ix. Virtue, who has 
been introduced as the principal personage in the re- 
presentation from the first, closes the discussion with 
an exhortation to inward purity, and they answer her 
by an hymn to our Lord as the Spouse of His Saints. 


It is observable that St. Methodius plainly speaks of the 
profession of Virginity as a vow. " I will explain/' says 
one of his speakers, "how we are dedicated to the Lord. 
What is enacted in the Book of Numbers, e to vow a vow 
mightily/ shows what I am insisting on at great length, 
that Chastity is a mighty vow beyond all vows/'' 9 This 
language is not peculiar to St. Methodius among the Ante- 
nicene Fathers. "Let such as promise Virginity and 
break their profession be ranked among digamists," says 
the Council of Ancyra in the beginning of the fourth 
century. Tertullian speaks of being " married to Christ," 
and marriage implies a vow ; he proceeds, " to Him thou 
hast pledged (spomasti) thy ripeness of age " and before 
he had expressly spoken of the continently wtitm. Origen 
speaks of " devoting one's body to God" in chastity ; and 
St. Cyprian " of Christ's Virgin, dedicated to Him and 
destined for His sanctity," and elsewhere of "members 
dedicated to Christ, and for ever devoted by virtuous 
Gullaud. t. 3, p. 070* 


chastity to the praise of continence;^ and Eusebius of 
those "who had consecrated themselves body and soul to a 
pure and all-holy life." 1 

3. Cultus of Saints and Angels. 

The Spanish Church supplies us with an anticipation of 
the later devotions to Saints and Angels. The Canons are 
extant of a Council of Illiberis, held shortly before the 
Council of Nicaca, and representative of course of the doc- 
trine of the third century. Among these occurs the fol- 
lowing: "It is decreed, that pictures ought not to bo in 
church, lest what is worshipped or adored be painted on 
the walls." 2 Now these words are commonly taken to be 
decisive against the use of pictures in the Spanish Church 
at that era. Let us grant it ; let us grant that the uso of 
all pictures is forbidden, pictures not only of our Lord, and 
sacred emblems, as of the Lamb and the Dovo, but pictures 
of Angels and Saints also. It is not fair to restrict the words, 
nor are controverbiulists found desirous of doing so ; they 
take them to include the images of the Saints. " For keep- 
ing of pictures out of the' Church, the Canon of the Eliberine 
or Illiberititie Council, held in Spain, about the time of 
Constantino the Great, is most plain/' 3 saysUssher: he is 
speaking of "the representations of God and of Christ, and 
of Augels and of Saints." 4 "The Council of Eliberis is very 
ancient, and of great fame," says Taylor, "in which it is 
expressly forbidden that what is worshipped should be 
depicted on the walls, and that therefore pictures ought 

i Rowth, IMiqu. t. 3, p. 414. Tertull. do Virg. Vol. 16 and 11. Orig. 
in Num. Horn. 21, 2. Cyprian. Ep. 4, p. 8, cd. Foil. Ep. 62, p. 147. 
JBufleb. V. Const, i\r. 2$. 

3 Plucuit picturiiA in ecclcsid. esae non dcbere, ne quod colitur autado- 
rntnr, in parutibuH depnigatur. Can. 3G. 

* Auaw. to a Jos. 10, p. 437. 

* P. 430. Tiio " colifcur mt adoratur " marks a difference of worship. 



not to be in churches." 5 He too is speaking of the Saints. 
I repeat, let us grant this freely. This inference then 
seems to be undeniable, that the Spanish Church considered 
the Saints to be in the number of objects either of " wor- 
ship or adoration;" for it is of such objects that the 
representations are forbidden. The very drift of the pro- 
hibition is this, lest what is in itself an object of worship 
(quod colitur} should be worshipped in painting ; unless 
then Saints and Angels were objects of worship, their 
pictures would Lave been allowed. 


This mention of Angels leads me to a memorable 
passage about the honour due to them in Justin 

St. Justin, after "answering the charge of Atheism," 
as Dr. Burton says, " which was brought against Christians 
of his day, and observing that they were punished for not 
worshipping evil demons which were not really gods," 
continues, "But Him, (God,) and the Son who came from 
Him, and taught us these things, and the host of the 
other good Angels who follow and resemble Him, and the 
prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, paying them a 
reasonable and true honour, and not grudging to deliver 
to any one, who wishes to learn, as we ourselves have been 
taught." 6 

A more express testimony to the cuttus Angetontm can- 

* Dissuasive, i. 1, 8. 

6 'T&Kstvov re, Kal rby irap* abrov vtbv $\Q6vra Kal 'Si^d^avra ^/uas rauTcc, 
[Kal T&JC rtov #AAv e-jrofj.ei'Gov Kal Qofj-oiovpevuv ayaQ&v ayyeAtwj/ crTparbv,] 
irvevna, re rb irpoQrtrutbv 0-ej8(fjLte0a Kal irpovKvvovfLev, hdyy Kal aA7j0i'<y 
rifjiwvres Kal vavrl /Soi/Ao/ucV^i jua0e>, ebs 4^i^dxOif}^v t &4 > 0<Ws 7rapa5iS(Wes. 
Apol* i. 6. The passage is parallel to tin. Prayer in the Breviary s 
" Sacrosanctfc ct individuse Trinitati, Crucifixi Domini nostri Jesu Christ! 
humanitati, beatisshnce ct gloriosissimje semperqne Virginia Manse fcecundse 
iutegritati, et omnium Sanctorum univorsitati, sit sempiterua laus, honor, 
viitus, efc gloria a.b omni creaturU," &c. 


not be required; nor is it unnatural in the connexion .in 
which it occurs, considering St. Justin has been speaking 
of the heathen worship of demons, and therefore would be 
led without effort to mention, not only the incommunicable 
adoration paid to the One God, who "will not give Bis 
glory to another/ ' but such inferior honour as may be paid 
to creatures, without sin on the side whether of giver or 
receiver. Nor is the construction of the original Greek 
harsher than is found in other authors ; nor need it sur- 
prise us in one whose style is not accurate, that two words 
should be used in combination to express worship, and that 
one should include Angels, and that the other should not. 

The following is Dr. Bur ton's account of the passage: 
"Scultetus, a Protestant divine of Heidelberg, in his 
Medulla Theologies Patrum, which appeared in 1005, gave 
a totally different meaning to the passage ; and instead of 
connecting { the host 9 with 'we worship,' connected it with 
'taught m,' The words would then be rendered thus: 
' But Him, and the Son who came from Rim, who also 
gave us instructions concerning these things, and concern- 
ing the host of the other good angels we worship/ &c. 
This interpretation is adopted and defended at some length 
by Bishop Bull, and by Stephen Le Moyne ; and oven the 
Benedictine Le Nourry supposed Justin to mean that 
Christ had taught us not to worship the bad angels, as 
well as the existence of good angels. Grabo, in his edition 
of 'Justin's Apology/ which was printed in 1703, adopted 
another interpretation, which had been before proposed by 
Le Moyne and by Cave. This also connects ' the Imt * 
with ( tauf/M,' and would require us to render the passage 
thus : * . . . and the Son who cumo from Him, who also 
taught these things to us, and to the host of the other 
Angels/ &c. It might be thought that Langus, who 



published a Latin translation of Justin in 15 6 5, meant to 
adopt one of these interpretations, or at least to connect 
'host' with 'taught these things* Both of them certainly 
are ingenious, and are not perhaps opposed to the literal 
construction of the Greek words ; but I cannot say that 
they are satisfactory, or that I am surprised at Roman 
Catholic writers describing them as forced and violent 
attempts to evade a difficulty. If the words enclosed in 
brackets were removed, the whole passage would certainly 
contain a strong argument in favour of the Trinity ; but 
as they now stand, Roman Catholic writers will naturally 
quote them as supporting the worship of Angels. 

u There is, however, this difficulty in such a construction 
of the passage : it proves too much. By coupling the 
Angels with the three persons of the Trinity, as objects of 
religious adoration, it seems to go beyond even what 
Roman Catholics themselves would maintain concerning 
the worship of Angels. Their well-known distinction, 
between latria and dult'a would be entirely confounded; 
and the difficulty felt by the Benedictine editor appears to 
have been as great, as his attempt to explain it is unsuc- 
cessful, when he wrote as follows : e Our adversaries in vain 
object the twofold expression, we worship and adore. For 
the former is applied to Angels themselves, regard being 
had to the distinction between the creature and the 
Creator ; the latter by no means necessarily includes the 
Angels/ This sentence requires concessions, which no 
opponent could be expected to make ; and if one of the 
two terms, we worship and adore, may be applied to Angels, 
it is unreasonable to contend that the other must not also. 
Perhaps, however, the passage may be explained so as to 
admit a distinction of this kind. The interpretations of 
Scultetus and Grabe have not found many advocates ; and 
upon the whole I should be inclined to conclude, that the 
clause, which relates to the Angels, is connected particu- 


larly with the words, * paying them a reasonable and true 

" 7 

Two violent alterations of the text have also been pro- 
posed: one to transfer the clause which creates the 
difficulty, after the words paying them honour ; the other 
to substitute crrpar^ybv (commander) for crrparbv (host). 

Presently Dr. Burton continues: "Justin, as I ob- 
served, is defending the Christians from the charge of 
Atheism; and after saying that the gods, whom they 
refused to worship, were no gods, but evil demons, he points 
out what were the Beings who were worshipped by the 
Christians. lie names the true God, who is the source of 
all virtue ; the Son, who proceeded from Him ; the good 
and ministering spirits; and the Holy Ghost. To these 
Doings, he says, wo pay all the worship, adoration, and 
honour, which is due to each of them ; i. e. worship where 
worship is duo, honour where honour is due. The 
Christians were accused of worshipping no gods,^that is, 
of acknowledging no superior bciugs at all. Justin shows 
that so far was this from being true, that they acknow- 
ledged more than ono order of spiritual Beings ; they offered 
divino wornhip to the true God, and they also believed in the 
existence of good npirits, which were entitled to honour and 
respect. If the reader will view the passage as a whole, 
he will perhaps see that there is nothing violent in thus 
roBtricting the words w*A/p and adore, and honouring, to 
certain parts of it respectively. It may seem strange that 
Justin should mention the ministering spirits before the 
J foly Ghost : but this is a difficulty which presses upon the 
lloinau Catholics as much as upon ourselves; and we may 
perhaps adopt the explanation of the Bishop of Lincoln, 
who says, 'I have sometimes thought that in this passage, 
7 Tost MIL pp. 16, 17, 18. * *r, 

SECT, I. 4.] OFFICE Or ST. MARY. 415 

*' and the host," is equivalent to "with the hosf t " and that 
Justin had in his mind the glorified state of Christ, when He 
should come to judge the world, surrounded by the host of 
heaven/ The bishop then brings several passages from 
Justin, where the Son of God is spoken of as attended by 
a company of Angels ; and if this idea was then in Justin's 
mind, it might account for his naming the ministering 
spirits immediately after the Son of God, rather than after 
the Holy Ghost, which would have been the natural and 
proper order." 9 

This passage of St. Justin is the more remarkable, 
because it cannot be denied that there was a worship of 
the Angels at that day, of which. St. Paul speaks, which 
was Jewish and Gnostic, and utterly reprobated by the 

4. Office of the Blessed Virgin. 

The special prerogatives of St. Mary, the Virgo Virgl- 
num, are intimately involved in the doctrine of the In- 
carnation itself, with which, these remarks began, and hare 
already been dwelt, upon above. As is well known, they 
were not fully recognized in the Catholic ritual till a late 
date, but they were not a new thing in the Church, or 
strange to her earlier teachers. St. Justin, St. Irenseus, 
and others, had distinctly laid it down, that she not only 
had an office, but bore a part, and was a voluntary agent, 
in the actual process of redemption, as Eve had been in- 
strumental and responsible in Adam's fall. They taught 
that, as the first woman might have foiled the Tempter 
and did not, so, if Mary had been disobedient or unbeliev- 
ing on Gabriel's message, the Divine Economy would have 
been frustrated. And certainly the parallel between " the 
Mother of all living " and the Mother of the Redeemer 
may be gathered from a comparison of the first chapters 
Pp. 19-21. 


of Scripture with the last. It was noticed in a former 
place, that the only passage where the serpent is directly 
identified with the evil spirit occurs in the twelfth chapter 
of the Revelation; now it is observable that the recognition, 
when made, is found in the course of a vision of a " woman 
elothod with the sun and the moon under her feet :" thus 
two women are brou ght into contrast with each other. More- 
over,asitis said in the Apocalypse," "The dragon was wrotk 
with the woman, and went about to make war with the rem- 
nant of her seed/' so is it prophesied in Genesis, "I will put 
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
andher Seed. He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise 
His heel/' Also the enmity was to exist, not only between 
the Serpent nnd the Seed of the woman, but between the 
serpent and the woman herself; and here too there is a 
correspondence in the Apocalyptic vision. If then there 
is reason for thinking that this mystery at the close of 
the Scripture record answers to the mystery in the begin- 
ning of it, and that "the Woman " mentioned in both 
passages is one and the same, then she can be none other 
than St. Mary, thus introduced prophetically to our notice 
immediately on the transgression of Eve, 


Here, however, we are not so much concerned to inter- 
pret Scripture as to examine the Fathers. Thus St. Justin 
says, " Eve, being a virgin and incorrupt^having conceived 
the word from the Serpent, bore disobedience and death ; 
but Mary the Virgin, receiving faith and joy, when 
Gabriel the Angel evangelized her, answered, 'Be it unto 
me according to thy word.' " 1 And Tertullian says that, 
whereas Eve believed the Serpent, and Mary believed 
Gabriel, "the fault of Eve in believing, Mary by be- 
lieving hath blotted out/' 9 St. Irenseus speaks more 

Trjph. 100. * Cam. Christ. 17. 

SECT. I. 4.] OFFICE OF ST. MART. 41 7 

explicitly : "As Eve, "he says . , . "becom ing disobedient, 
became the cause of death, to herself and to all mankind, 
so Mary too, having the predestined Man, and yet a Virgin, 
being obedient, became cause of salvation, both to herself 
and to all mankind." 3 This becomes the received doctrine 
in the Post-nicene Church. 

One well-known instance occurs in the history of the 
third century of St. Mary's interposition, and it is remark- 
able from the names of the two persons, who were, one the 
subject, the other the historian of it, St. Gregory Nyssen, 
a native of Cappadocia in the fourth century, relates that 
his name-sake Bishop of Neo-caesarea, surnamed Thauma- 
turgus, in the preceding century, shortly before he was 
called to the priesthood, received in a vision a Creed, which is 
still extant, from the Blessed Virgin at the hands of St. John. 
The account runs thus : He was deeply pondering theologi- 
cal doctrine, which the heretics of the day depraved. " In 
such thoughts," says his name-sake of Nyssa, " he was 
passing the night, when one appeared, as if in human form, 
aged in appearance, saintly in the fashion of his garments, 
and very venerable both in grace of countenance and 
general mien. , , . Following with his eyes his extended 
hand, he saw another appearance opposite to the former, in 
shape of a woman, but more than human. , . . When his 
eyes could not bear the apparition, he heard them convers- 
ing together on the subject of his doubts ; and thereby not 
only gained a true knowledge of the faith, but learned 
their names, as they addressed each other by their respec- 
tive appellations. And thus he is said to have heard the 
person in woman's shape bid 'John the Evangelist * 
disclose to the young man the mystery of godliness ; and 
he answered that he was ready to comply in this matter 
with the wish of ' the Mother of the Lord/ and enunciated 
a formulary, well-turned and complete, and so vanished/* 
* Hor. iii. 22, 4. 

E 6 


Gregory proceeds to rehearse the Creed thus given, 
" There is One God, Father of a Living Word," &c. 4 Bull, 
after quoting it in his work upon the Nicene Faith, refers 
to this history of its origin, and adds, "No one should 
think it incredible that such a providence shoiild befall a 
man whose whole life was conspicuous for revelations and 
miracles, as all ecclesiastical writers who have mentioned 
him (and who has not ?) witness with one voice." 5 


It is remarkable that St. Gregory Nazianzen relates an 
instance, even more pointed, of St, Mary's intercession, 
contomporaneouei with this appearance to Thaumaturgus; 
but it is attended with mistake in the narrative, which 
weakens its cogency as an evidence of the belief, not indeed 
of the fourth century, in which St. Gregory lived, but of 
the third. He speaks of a Christian woman having 
recourse to tho protection of St. Mary, and obtaining the 
conversion of a heathen who had attempted to practise on 
her by magical arts. They woro both martyred. 

lu both those instances tho Blessed Virgin appears 
especially in that character of Patroness or Paraclete, 
which St. Irenuous and other Fathers describe, and which 
tho Medieval Church exhibits, a loving Mother with 

Opp. t. ii. p. 977* * Dcf. F. N. ii, 12. 




IT is the general pretext of heretics that they are but 
serving and protecting Christianity by their innovations ; 
and it is their charge against what by this time we may 
surely call the Catholic Church, that her successive defi- 
nitions of doctrine have but overlaid and obscured it. 
That is, they assume, what we have no wish to deny, that 
a true development is that which is conservative of its 
original, and a corruption is that which tends to its de- 
struction. This has already been set down as a Sixth 
Test, discriminative of a development from a corruption, 
and must now be applied to the Catholic doctrines ; though 
this Essay has so far exceeded its proposed limits, that both 
reader and writer may well be weary, and may content 
themselves with a brief consideration of the portions of 
the subject which remain. 

It has been observed already that a strict correspondence 
between the various members of a development, and those 
of the doctrine from which it is derived, is more than we 
have any right to expect. The bodily structure of a grown 
man is not merely that of a magnified boy ; he differs from 
what he was in his make and proportions ; still manhood 
is the perfection of boyhood, adding something of its own, 
e 2 


yet keeping what it finds. " Tit nihil novum," says Vincen- 
tius, " proferatur in senibus, quod non in pueris jam an tea 
latitaverit." This character of addition, that is, of a 
change which is in one sense real and perceptible, yet 
without loss or reversal of what was before, but, on the 
contrary, protective and confirmative of it, in many 
respects and in. a special way belongs to Christianity. 



If we take the simplest and most general view of 
its history, as existing in an individual mind, or in the 
Church at large, we shall see in it an instance of this 
peculiarity. It is the birth of something virtually new, 
because latent in what was before. Thus we know that 
no temper of mind is acceptable in the Divine Presence 
without love ; it is love which makes Christian fear differ 
from servile dread, and true faith diifer from the faith of 
devils ; yet in the beginning of the religious life, fear is 
the prominent evangelical grace, and love is but latent in 
fear, and has in course of time to be developed out of what 
seems its contradictory. Then, when it is developed, it 
takes that prominent place which fear held before, yet 
protecting not superseding it. Love is added, not fear 
removed, and the mind is but perfected in grace by what 
seems a revolution. " They that sow in tears, reap in joy ;" 
yet afterwards still they are " sorrowful/' though " alway 

And so was it with the Church at large. She started 
with suffering, which turned to victory ; but when she 
was set free from the house of her prison, she did not 
quit it so much as turn, it into a cell. Meekness inherited 
Ike earth ; strength caine forth from weakness ; the poor 



made many rich.; yet meekness and poyerty remained. 
The rulers of the world were Monks, when they could not 
be Martyrs. 


Immediately on the overthrow of the heathen power, 
two movements simultaneously ran through the world 
from East to West, as quickly as the lightning in the 
prophecy, a development of worship and of asceticism. 
Hence, while the world's first reproach in heathen 
times had been that Christianity was a dark malevolent 
magic, its second has been that it is a joyous carnal 
paganism; according to that saying, "We have piped 
unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned 
unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came 
neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, 
Behold a man gluttonous and a winebibber, a friend of 
publicans and sinners/' Yet our Lord too was " a man of 
sorrows " all the while, but softened His austerity by His 
gracious gentleness. 


The like characteristic attends also on the mystery of 
His Incarnation. He was first God and He became man ; 
but Eutyches and heretics of his school refused to admit 
that Ho was man, lest they should deny that He was God. 
In consequence the Catholic Fathers are frequent and 
unanimous in their asseverations, that " the Word " had 
become flesh, not to His loss, but by an addition. Each 
Nature is distinct, but the created Nature lives in and by 
the Eternal. " Non amittendo quod erat, sed sumendo quod 
nou erat/* is the Church's principle. And hence, though 
the course of development, as was observed in a former 
Chapter, has been to bring into prominence the divine 



aspect of our Lord's mediation, this has been attended by 
even a more open manifestation of the doctrine of His 
atoning sufferings. The passion of our Lord is one of 
the most imperative and engrossing subjects of Catholic 
teaching. It is the great topic of meditations and prayers ; 
it is brought into continual remembrance by the sign of 
the Gross ; it is preached to the world in the Crucifix ; it 
is variously honoured by the many houses of prayer, and 
associations of religious men, and pious institutions and 
undertakings, which in some way or other are placed under 
the name and the shadow of Jesus, or the Saviour, or the 
Eedecmer, or His Cross, or His Passion, or His sacred 


Hero a singular development may be mentioned of 
the doctrine of the Cross, which some have thought so 
contrary to its original meaning, 1 as to be a manifest cor- 
ruption ; I mean the introduction of the Sign of the meek 
Jpsus into the armies of men, and the use of an emblem, 
of peace as a protection in battle. If light has no com- 
munion with darkness, or Christ with Belial, what has He 
to do with Moloch, who would not call down firo on His 
enemies, and came not to destroy but to save? Yet this 
seeming anomaly is but one instance of a great law which 
is seen in developments generally, that changes which 
appear at first sight to contradict that out of which they 
orew, are really its protection or illustration. Our Lord 
Himself is represented in the Prophets as a combatant in- 
flicting wounds while He received them, as coming from 
Bozrah with dyed garments, sprinkled and red in His 
apparel with the blood of His enemies ; and, whereas no 
war is lawful but what is just, it surely beseems that they 
who are engaged in so dreadful a commission as that of 
i Supr, p. 173. 


taking away life at the price of their own, should at least 
have the support of His Presence, and fight under the 
mystical influence of His Name, who redeemed His elect 
as a combatant by the Blood of Atonement, with the 
slaughter of His foes, the sudden overthrow of the Jews, 
and the slow and awful fall of the Pagan Empire. And 
if the wars of Christian nations have often been unjust, 
this is a reason against much more than the use of religious 
symbols by the parties who engage in them., though the 
pretence of religion may increase the sin. 


The same rule of development has been observed in 
respect of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. It is the 
objection of the School of Soeinus, that belief in the Trinity 
is destructive of any true maintenance of the Divine 
Unity, however strongly the latter may be professed ; but 
Petavius, as we have seen, 2 sets it down as one especial 
recommendation of the Catholic doctrine, that it subserves 
that original truth which at first sight it does but obscure 
and compromise. 

This representation of the consistency of the Catholic 
system will be found to be true, even in respect of those 
peculiarities of it, which have been considered by Pro- 
testants most open to the charge of corruption and inno- 
vation. It is maintained, for instance, that the veneration 
paid to Images in the Catholic Church directly contradicts 
the command of Scripture, and the usage of the primitive 
ages. As to primitive usage, that part of the subject has 
been incidentally observed upon already ; here I will make 
one remark on the argument from Scripture. 

It may be reasonably questioned, then, whether the 

Supr. p. 174. 


Commandment which, stands second in the Protestant De- 
calogue, on which the prohibition of Images is grounded, 
was intended in its letter for more than temporary ob- 
servance. So far is certain, that, though none could surpass 
the later Jews in its literal observance, nevertheless this 
did not save them from the punishments attached to the 
violation of it. If this be so, the literal observance is not 
its true and evangelical import. 


" When the generation to come of your children shall 
rise up after you," says their inspired lawgiver, " and the 
stranger that shall come from a far land shall say, when 
they see the plagues of that land, and its sicknesses which 
the Lord hath laid upon it ; and that the whole land 
thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not 
sown, nor beareth, nor any grass growoth therein, . . . 
even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done 
thus unto this land P. Whatmeaneth the heat of this great 
anger ? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken 
the covenants of the Lord God of their fathers, which He 
mado with them when He brought them forth out of the 
land of Egypt ; for they wont and served other gods, and 
worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom 
He had not given them." Now the Jews of our Lord's 
day did not keep this covenant, for they incurred the 
penalty ; yet they kept the letter of the Commandment 
rigidly, and were known among the heathen far and wide 
lor their devotion to the " Lord God of their fathers who 
brought them out of the land of Egypt," and for their 
abhorrence of the " gods whom Ho had not given them/' 
If then adherence to the letter was no protection to the 
Jews, departure from the letter may be no guilt in 
Christians. * 

It should be observed, moreover, that there certainly is 



a difference between the two covenants in their respective 
view of symbols of the Almighty. In the Old, it was 
blasphemy to represent Him under " the similitude of a 
calf that eateth hay ;" in the New, the Third Person of 
the Holy Trinity has signified His Presence by the appear- 
ance of a Dove, and the Second Person has presented His 
sacred Humanity for worship imrlpr the name of the 


It follows that, if the letter of the Decalogue is but 
partially binding on Christians, it is as justifiable, in 
setting it before persons under instruction^ to omit such 
parts as do not apply to them, as, when we quote passages 
from the Pentateuch in Sermons or Lectures generally, to 
pass over verses which refer simply to the temporal 
promises or the ceremonial law, a practice whicht we allow 
without any intention or appearance of dealing irreve- 
rently with the sacred text. 



It has been anxiously asked, whether the honours 
paid to St. Mary, which have grown out of devotion to her 
Almighty Lord and Son, do not, in fact, tend to weaken 
that devotion ; and whether, from the nature of the case, 
it is possible so to exalt a creature without withdrawing 
the heart from the Creator. 

In addition to what has been said on this subject in fore- 
going Chapters, I would here observe that the question is 
one of fact, not of presumption or conjecture. The abstract 
lawfulness of the honours paid to St. Mary, and their dis- 
tinction in theory from tlie incommunicable worship paid 



to God, are points which have already been dwelt upon ; 
but here the question turns upon their practicability or 
expedience, which must be determined by the fact whether 
they are practicable, and whether they have been found to 
be expedient. 


Here I observe, first, that, to those who admit the 
authority of the Fathers of Ephesus, the question is in no 
slight degree answered by their sanction of the deorofcos, or 
<f Mother of God," as a title of St. Mary, and as given in order 
to protect the doctrine of the Incarnation, and to preserve 
the faith of Catholics from a specious Humanitarianism. 
And if we take a survey at least of Europe, we shall find 
that it is not those religious communions which are cha- 
racterized by devotion towards the Blessed Virgin that 
have ceased to adore her Eternal Son, but those very 
bodies, (when allowed by the law,) which have re- 
nounced devotion to her. The regard for His glory, 
which was professed in that keen jealousy of her exalta- 
tion, has not been supported by tho event. They who 
were accused of worshipping a creature in His stead, still 
worship Him 5 their accusers, who hoped to worship Him 
so purely, they, wherever obstacles to the development of 
their principles have been removed, have ceased to worship 
Him altogether. 


Next, it must be observed, that the (one of the devotion 
paid to the Blessed Mary is altogether distinct from that 
which is paid to her Eternal Son, and to the Holy Trinity, 
as we must certainly allow on inspection of the Catholic 
services. The supreme and true worship paid to the 
Almighty is severe, profound, awful, as well as tender, 
confiding, and dutiful. Christ is addressed as true God, 


while He is true Man ; as our Creator and Judge, while 
He is most loving, gentle, and gracious. On the other 
hand, towards St. Mary the language employed is affec- 
tionate and ardent, as towards a mere child of Adam; 
though suhdued, as coming from her sinful kindred. 
How different, for instance, is the tone of the Dies Irce 
from that of the Stabat Mater. In the "Tristis et afflicta 
Mater Unigeniti," in the "Virgo virginum prseclara Mihi 
jam non sis amara, Poenas mecum divide," in the "Fac 
me vere tecum fiere," we have an expression of the feelings 
with which we regard one who is a creature and a mere 
human heing; but in the "Bex tremendae majestatis qui 
salvandos salvas gratis, salva me Fons pietatis," the " JSTe 
me perdas ilia die/' the "Juste judex ultionis, donum fac 
remissionis," the " Oro supplex et acclinis, cor contritutn 
quasi cinis," the " Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem/* 
we hear the voice of the creature raised in hope and love, 
yet in deep awe to his Creator, Infinite Benefactor, and . 

Or again, how distinct is the language of the Breviary 
Services on the Festival of Pentecost, or of the Holy 
Trinity, from the language of the Services for the Assump- 
tion ! How indescribably majestic, solemn, and soothing 
is the "Veni Creator Spiritus," the "Altissimi donum 
Dei, Fons vivus, ignis, charitas," or the "Vera et una 
Trinitas, una et summa Deltas, sancta et una Unitas/' the 
" Spes nostra, salus nostra, honor noster, beata Trinitas/' 
the "Charitas Pater, gratia Filius, communicatio Spiritus 
Sanctus, beata Trinitas;" "Libera DOS, salva nos, vivi- 
fica nos, beata Trinitas I" How fond, on the contrary, 
how full of sympathy and affection, how stirring and 
animating, in the Office for the Assumption, is the "Virgo 
prudentissima, quo progrederis, quasi aurora valde rutilans ? 
filia Sion, tota formosa et suavis es, pulcra ut luna, electa 
ut sol; J> the "Sicut dies verni ciroumdabant earn flores 



rosarum, et Hlia corivallium f* the " Maria Virgo assumpta 
est ad sothereum thalamum in quo Rex regum stellate 
sedet solio ;" and the " Gauclent Angeli, laudantes bene- 
dicunt Dominum. 1 " And so again, the Antiphon, the 
"Ad te clamamus exuies filii llevoo, ad to suspiramus 
gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle/' and "Eia 
ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos 
converte," and "0 clemens, pia, dulcis Virgo Maria." 
Or the Hymn, "Ave Maris stella, Dei Mater alma/' and 
" Virgo singularis, inter oranes mitis, nos cnlpis solutos, 
mites fac et castos." 


Nor does it avail to object that, in this contrast of devo- 
tional exercises, the human will supplant the Divine, from 
the infirmity of our nature ; for, 1 repeat, the question 
is one of fact, whether it has done so. And next it must 
be asked, whether the character of much of the Protestant 
devotion towards our Lord has beon that of adoration at all; 
and not rather such as we pay to an excellent human 
ieing, that is, no higher devotion tliun that which Catholics 
pay to St. Mary, differing from it, however, in often being 
familiar, rude, and earthly. Carnal minds will ever create 
a carnal worship for themselves ; and to forbid them the 
service of the Saints will have no tendency to teach them 
the worship of God. 

Moreover, it must be observed, what is very important, 
that great and constant as is the devotion which the 
Catholic pays to the Blessed Mary, it 1ms a special pro- 
vince, and lias far more connexion with the public services 
and the festivo aspect of Christianity, and with certain- 
extraordinary offices which she holds, than with what is 
strictly personal and primary in. religion. 

Two instanoi'B will serve in illustration, of this, and they 
are but samples of many others. 3 

* E.g. the "Do Imiiatione," the " Introduction b la Vie Devote/* the 



(1.) For example, St. Ignatius* Spiritual Exorcises are 
among the most approved methods of devotion in the 
modern Catholic Church; they proceed from, one of the 
most celebrated of her Saints, and have the praise of 
Popes, and of the most eminent masters of the spiritual 
life. A Bull of Paul the Third's " approves, praises, ana 
sanctions all and everything contained in the'm ;" indul- 
gences are granted to the performance of them by the 
same Pope, by Alexander the Seventh, and by Benedict 
the Fourteenth. St. Carlo Borromeo declared that he 
learned more from thorn than from all other books together ; 
St. Francis de Sales calls them "a holy method of refor- 
mation/* and they are the model on which, all the ex- 
traordinary devotions of religious men or bodies, and the 
course of missions, arc conducted. If there is a document 
which, is the authoritative exponent of the inward com- 
munion of the members of the modern Catholic Church 
with their God and Saviour, it is this work. 

The Exercises are directed to the removal of obstacles in 
the way of the soul^s receiving and profiting by the gifts 
of God. They undertake to effect this in three ways ; by 
removing all objects of this world, and, as it were, bring- 
ing the soul " into the solitude where God may speak to its 
heart f* next, by setting before it the ultimate end of man, 
and its own deviations from it, the beauty of holiness, and 
the pattern of Christ and, lastly, by giving rules for its 
correction. They consist of a course of prayers, medita- 
tions, self-examinations, and the like, which, in its complete 

" Spiritual Combat," the "Anima Divota," the "Paradisus Anirase," the 
" Regula Cleri," the ' Garden of the Soul/' &c. &c. [Also, the Roman 
Catechism, drawn up expres&ly for Parish instruction, a book in which, out 
of nearly 600 pages, scarcely half-a-dozen make mention of the Blessed 
Virgin, though without any disparagement thereby, or thought of dis- 
paragement, of her special prerogatives.] 


extent lasts thirty days ; and these are divided into three 
stages, the Via Purgativa, in which sin is the main 
subject of consideration; the Via Illuminatfca, which is 
devoted to the contemplation of our Lord's passion, 
involving the process of the determination of our calling; 
and the Via Unitwa, in which we proceed to the contem- 
plation of our Lord's resurrection and ascension. 


No more need be added in order to introduce the remark 
for which I have referred to these Exercises ; viz. that in 
a work so highly sanctioned, so widely received, so inti- 
mately bearing upon the most sacred points of personal 
religion, very slight mention occurs of devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin, Mother of God. There is one mention of 
her in the rule given for the first Prelude or preparation, 
in which the person meditating is directed to consider as 
before him a church, or other place with Christ in it, St. 
Mary, and whatever else is suitable to the subject of 
meditation. Another is in the third Exercise, in which 
one of the three addresses is mado to our Lady, Christ's 
Mother, requesting earnestly " her intercession with her 
Son;" to which is to be added the Ave Mary. In 
the beginning of the Second Week there is a form of 
offering ourselves to Grod in the presence of " His infinite 
goodness/' and with the witness of His " glorious Virgin 
Mother Mary, and the whole host of heaven/' At the 
end of the Meditation upon the Angel Gabriel's mission 
to St. Mary, there is an address to each Divine Person, 
to "the Word Incarnate and to His Mother/' In the 
Meditation upon the Two Standards, there is an address 
prescribed to St. Mary to implore grace from her Son 
through her, with an Ave Mary after it. 

In the beginning of the Third Week one address is pre- 
scribed to Christ ; or three, if devotion incites, to Mother, 



Son, and Father. In the description given of three 
different modes of prayer we are told, if we would imitate 
the Blessed Mary, we must recommend ourselves to her, as 
. having power with her Son, and presently the Ave Mary, 
Salve Regina, and other forms are prescribed, as is usual after 
all prayers. And this is pretty much the whole of the devo- 
tion, if it may so be called, which is recommended towards 
St. Mary in the course of so many apparently as a hundred 
and fifty Meditations, and those chiefly on the events in 
our Lord's earthly history as recorded in Scripture. It 
would seem then that whatever be the influence of the 
doctrines connected with the Blessed Virgin and the Saints 
in the Catholic Church, at least they do not impede or 
obscure the freest exercise and the fullest manifestation 
of the devotional feelings towards God and Christ. 

(2.) The other instance which I give in illustration is 
of a different kind, but is suitable to mention. About 
forty little books have come into my possession which aro 
in circulation among the laity at Rome, and answer to the 
smaller publications of the Christian Knowledge Society 
among ourselves. They have been taken almost at hazard 
from a number of such works, and are of various lengths j 
some running to as many as two or three hundred pages, 
others consisting of scarce a dozen. They may be divided 
into three classes : a third part consists of books on 
practical subjects ; another third is upon the Incarnation 
and Passion ; and of the rest, a portion is upon the Sacra- 
ments, especially the Holy Eucharist, with two or three 
for the use of Missions, but the greater part is about the 
Blessed Virgin. 

As to the class on practical subjects, they are on such as 
the following : *' La Consolazione degF Interim;" *' Pen- 
sieri di una donna sul vestire moderno;" "L'lnferno 


Aperto ;" " II Purgatorio Apcrto ;" St. Alphonso Liguori's 
" Massime eterne " other Maxims by St. Francis de Sales 
for every day in the year ; " Pratica per ben confessarsi e 
co'nmunicarsi ;" and the like. 

The titles of the second class on the Incarnation and 
Passion are such as " Gesu dalla Croce al cuore del 
peccatore;" " Novena del SB. Natale di G. C.;" "Asso- 
ciuzione pel culto perpetuo del divin cuore ;" " Compendio 
della Pussiono." 

In the third are "II Mose Eucaristico/' "II divoto di 
Maria/' Feasts of the Blessed Virgin, &c. 


These "books in all three divisions are, as even the 
titles of souio of thorn show, in great measure made up 
of Meditations; such are the "Breve e pie Meditazioni " 
of P. Crasset ; the " Meditasdoni per ciascun giorno del 
meso sulla Passione ;" the " Meditazioni per Tora Euca- 
ristictk" Now of these it may be said generally, that in 
the body of t lie Meditation St. Mary is hardly mentioned at 
all. For instance, in the Meditations on the Passion, a book 
used for distribution, through two hundred and seventy- 
Kevi'ii pages St. Mary is not once named. In the Prayers 
for Mass which are added, she is introduced, at the Oou- 
fiteor, thus, "I pray tho Virgin, the An gels, the Apostles, 
and all the Saints of heaven to intercede," &c. ; and in the 
Preparation for Penance, she is onco addressed, after our 
Lord, as tho Itcfugo of sinners, with the Saints and 
Guardian Angel ; and at the end of tho Exercise there is a 
similar prayer of four linos for the intercession of St. Mary, 
Angels and Saints of heaven. In. the Exercise for Com- 
munion, in a prayer to our Lord, " my only and infinite 
good, my treasure, my life, my paradise, my all," the 
merits of the Saints are mentioned, "especially of St. 



Mary." She is also mentioned with Angels and Saints at 
the termination. 

In a collection of " Spiritual Lauds " for Missions, of 
thirty-six Hymns, we find as many as eleven addressed to 
St. Mary, or relating to her, among which are translations 
of the Ave Maris Stella, and the Staled Mater, and the 
8ahe Recjina; and one is on "the sinner's reliance on 
Mary/' Five, however, which are upon Repentance, aro 
entirely engaged upon the subjects of our Lord and sin, 
with the exception of an. address to St. Mary at the end oi' 
two of them. Seven others, upon sin, the Crucifixion, and 
the Four Last Things, do not mention the Blessed Virginia 

To the Manual for the Perpetual Adoration of tho 
Divine Heart of Jesus there is appended one chapter on 
the Immaculate Conception. 


One of the most important of these boots is the 
French Pensez-y lien, which seems a favourite, since there 
are two translations of it, one of them being the fifteenth 
edition ; and it is used for distribution in Missions. In 
these reflections there is scarcely a word said of St. Mary* 
At the end there is a Method of reciting the Crown of the 
Seven Dolours of the Virgin Mary, which contains seven 
prayers to her, and the Stabat Mater. 

One of the longest in the whole collection is a tract 
consisting principally of Meditations on the Holy Com- 
munion ; under the title of the " Eucharistic Month," as 
already mentioned. In these " Preparations/' " Aspira- 
tions," &c., St. Mary is but once mentioned, and that in a 
prayer addressed to our Lord. et O my sweetest Brother/"* 
it says with an allusion to the Canticles, " who, being made 
Man for my salvation, hast sucked the milk from the vir- 
ginal breast of her, who is my Mother by grace/* &c. In 

* f 


a small " Instruction " given to children on their first 
Communion , there are the following questions and answers : 
" Is our Lady in the Host P No. Are the Angels and 
the Saints ? No. Why not ? Because they have no 
place there." 


Now coming to those in the third class, which directly 
relate to the Blessed Mary, such as " Esercizio ad Onore 
delF addolorato cuore cli Maria/' " Novena di Preparazione 
alia festa dell* Assunzione/' "Li Quindici Misteri del 
Snnto Rosario," the principal is Father Segneri's "II 
divoto di Maria/' which requires a distinct notice. It 
is fur from the intention of these remarks to deny the 
high place which the Holy Virgin holds in the devotion 
of Catholics ; I am but bringing evidence of its not inter- 
fering with that incommunicable and awful relation 
which exists between the creature and the Creator; 
and, if the foregoing instances show, as far as they go, 
that that relation, is preserved inviolate in such honours 
as are paid to St. Mary, so will this treatise throw light 
upon the rationale by which the distinction is preserved 
between the worship of Grod and the honour of an exalted 
creature, and that in singular accordance with the remarks 
made in the foregoing Section. 


This work of Segneri is written against persons who 
continue in sins under pretence of their devotion to St. 
Mary, and in consequence he is led to draw out the idea 
which good Catholics have of her. The idea is this, that 
she is absolutely the first of created beings. Thus the 
treatise says, that " Grod might have easily made a more 
beautiful firmament, and a greener earth, but it was not 
po&bible to make a higher Mother than the Virgin Mary ; 


and in her formation there has been conferred on mere 
creatures all the glory of which they are capable, remain- 
ing mere creatures," p. 34. And as containing all created 
perfection, she has all those attributes, which, as was 
noticed above, the Arians and other heretics applied to our 
Lord, and which the Church denied of Him as infinitely 
below His Supreme Majesty. Thus she is "the created 
Idea in the making of the world," p. 20 ; " which, as 
being a more exact copy of the Incarnate Idea than was 
elsewhere to be found, was used as the original of the rest 
of the creation," p. 21. To her are applied the words, 
"Ego primogenita prodivi ex ore Altissimi," because she 
was predestinated in the Eternal Mind coevally with the 
Incarnation of her Divine Son. But to Him alone the 
title of Wisdom Incarnate is reserved, p. 25. Again, 
Christ is the First-born by nature ; the Virgin in a less 
sublime order, viz. that of adoption. Again, if omnipotence 
is ascribed to her, it is a participated omnipotence (as she 
and all Saints have a participated sonship, divinity, glory, 
holiness, and worship), and is explained by the words, 
" Quod Deus imperio, tu prece, Virgo, potes." 


Again, a special office is assigned to the Blessed Virgin, 
that is, special as compared with all other Saints ; but it 
is marked off with the utmost precision from, that assigned 
to our Lord. Tims she is said to have been made " the 
arbitress of every effect coming from God's mercy." Be- 
cause she is the Mother of God, the salvation of mankind 
is said to be given to her prayers " de eongnio, but de con- 
dnjno it is due only to the blood of the Redeemer," p. 118* 
Merit is ascribed to Christ, and prayer to St. Mary, 
p. 162. The whole may be expressed in the words, " Uuica 
spes mea Jesus, et post Jesuui Virgo Muria. Amen." 

Again, a distinct cultus is as&igned to Mary, but the 
JT f 2 



reason of it 19 said to be the transcendent dignity of her Son. 
<e A particular cultus is due to the Virgin beyond compari- 
son greater than that given to any other Saint, because 
her dignity belongs to another order, namely to one which 
in some sense belongs to the order of the Hypostatic Union 
itself, and is necessarily connected with it," p. 41. And 
" Her being the Mother of God is the source of all the 
extraordinary honours due to Mary," p. 35. 

It is remarkable that the " Monstra te esso Matrem " is 
explained, p. 158, as " Show thyself to be our Mother ;" 
an interpretation which I think I have found elsewhere iti 
these Tracts, and also in a book commonly used in 
religious houses, called the " Journal of Meditations/' and 
elsewhere. 4 

It must be kept in mind that my object here is not to 
prove the dogmatic accuracy of what these popular publi- 
cations teach concerning the prerogatives of the Blessed 
Virgin, but to show that that teaching is not such as to 
obscure the divine glory of her Son. We must ask for 
clearer evidence before we are able to admit so grave a 
charge; and so much may suffice on the Sixth Test of 
fidelity in the development of an idea, as applied to the 
Catholic system. 

* [Tid. Via Media, vol. ii. pp, 121-2.] 




WE have arrived at length at the seventh and last test, 
which was laid down when we started, for distinguishing 
the true development of an idea from its corruptions 
and perversions: it is this. A corruption, if vigorous, 
is of brief duration, runs itself out quickly, and ends in 
death ; on the other hand, if it lasts, it fails in vigour 
and passes into a decay. This general law gives us ad- 
ditional assistance in determining the character of the 
developments of Christianity commonly called Catholic. 


When we consider the succession of ages during which 
the Catholic system has endured, the severity of the trials 
it has undergone* the sudden and wonderful changes with- 
out and within which have befallen it, the incessatit mental 
activity and the intellectual* gifts of its maintainers, the 
enthusiasm which it has kindled, the fury of the contro- 
versies which have been carried on among its professors, 
the impetuosity of the assaults made upon it, the ever- 
increasing responsibilities to which it has been committed 
by the continuous development of its dogmas, it is quite 
inconceivable that it should not have been broken up and 


lost, were it a corruption of Christianity. Yet it is still 
living, if there be a living religion or philosophy in the 
world ; vigorous, energetic, persuasive, progressive ; vire$ 
acqidrit eundo; it grows and is not overgrown; it 
spreads out, yet is not enfeebled ; it is ever germinating, 
yet ever consistent with itself. Corruptions indeed are to 
be found which sleep and are suspended ; and these, as I 
have said, are usually called " decays :" such is not the 
case with Catholicity ; it does not sleep, it is not stationary 
even now ; and that its long series of developments should 
be corruptions would be an instance of sustained error, so 
novel, so unaccountable, so preternatural, as to be little 
short of a miracle, and to rival those manifestations of 
Divine Power which constitute the evidence of Christianity. 
We sometimes view with surprise and awe the degree of 
pain and disarrangement which the human frame can 
undergo without succumbing ; yet at length there comes 
an end. Fevers have their crisis, fatal or favourable ; but 
this corruption of a thousand years, if corruption it be, has 
ever been growing nearer death, yet never reaching it, and 
has been strengthened, not debilitated, by its excesses, 


For instance : when the Empire was converted, multi- 
tudes, as is very plain, came into the Church on but par- 
tially religious motives, and with habits and opinions 
infocted with the false worships which they had professedly 
abandoned. History shows us what anxiety and effort it 
cost her rulers to keep Paganism out of her pale. To this 
tendency must be added the hazard which attended on the 
development of the Catholic ritual, such as the honours 
publicly assigned to Saints and Martyrs, the formal vene- 
ration of thoir relics, and the usages and observances which 
followed. What was to hinder the rise of a sort of refined 
Pantheism, and the overthrow of dogmatism par ipassu with 


the * multiplication of heavenly intercessors and patrons ? 
If what is called in reproach " Saint- worship " resembled 
the polytheism which it supplanted, or was a corruption, 
how did Dogmatism survive ? Dogmatism is a religion's 
profession of its own reality as contrasted with other 
systems ; but polytheists are liberals, and hold that one 
religion is as good as another. Yet the theological system 
was developing and strengthening, as well as the monastic 
rule, which is intensely anti-pantheistic, all the while the 
ritual was assimilating itself, as Protestants say, to the 
Paganism of former ages. 


Nor was the development of dogmatic theology, which 
was then taking place, a silent and spontaneous process. 
It was wrought out and carried through under the fiercest 
controversies, and amid the most fearful risks. The 
Catholic faith was placed in a succession of perils, and 
rocked to and fro like a vessel at sea. Large portions of 
Christendom were, one after another, in heresy or in 
schism ; the leading Churches and the most authoritative 
schools fell from time to time into serious error; three 
Popes, Liberius, Vigilius, Honorius, have left to posterity 
the burden of their defence : but these disorders were no 
interruption to the sustained and steady march of the 
sacred science from implicit belief to formal statement. 
The series of ecclesiastical decisions, in which its progress 
was ever and anon signified, alternate between the one and 
the other sideof the theological dogma especially in question, 
as if fashioning it into shape by opposite strokes. The con- 
troversy began in Apollinaris, who confused or denied the 
Two Natures in Christ, and was condemned by Pope Dama- 
sus. A reaction followed, and Theodore of Mopsuestia 
suggested by his teaching the doctrine of Two Persons. 
After Hestorius had brought that heresy into public view. 


and had incurred In consequence the anathema of 'the 
Third Ecumenical Council, the current of controversy again 
shifted its direction ; for Eutyches appeared, maintained 
the One Nature, and was condemned at Chalcedon. Some- 
thing however was still wanting to the overthrow of the 
Nestorian doctrine of Two Persons, and the Fifth Council 
was formally directed against the writings of Theodore and 
his party. Then followed the Monothelite heresy, which 
was a revival of the Eutychian or Monophysite, and was 
condemned in the Sixth. Lastly, Nestorianism once more 
showed itself in the Adoptionists of Spain, and gave 
occasion to the great Council of Frankfort. Any one false 
step would have thrown tho whole theory of the doctrine 
into irretrievable confusion ; but it was as if some one in- 
dividual and perspicacious intellect, to speak humanly, 
ruled the theological discussion from first to last. That in 
the long course of centuries, and in spite of the failure, in 
points of detail, of the most gifted Fathers and Saints, the 
Church thus wrought out the one and only consistent 
theory which can be taken on the great doctrine in dispute, 
proves how clear, simple, and exact her vision of that 
doctrine was. But it proves more than this. Is it not 
utterly incredible, that with this thorough, comprehen- 
sion of so great a mystery, ua fur as the human mind can 
knp\v it, she should be at that very time in the commission 
of the grossest errors in religious worship, and should be 
hiding the God and Mediator, whose Incarnation she 
contemplated with so clear an intellect, behind a crowd of 
idols ? 

5. r 

The integrity of the Catholic developments is still more 
evident when they are viewed in contrast with the history 
of other doctrinal systems. Philosophies and religions of 
the world have each its day, and are parts of a succession. 
They supplant and are in turn supplanted. But the Catha- 


lie religion alone has had no limits ; it alone has ever been, 
greater than the emergence, and can do what others cannot 
do. If it were a falsehood, or a corruption, like the systems 
of men, it would be weak as they are ; whereas it is able 
even to impart to them a strength which they have not, 
and it uses them for its own purposes, and locates them 
in its own territory. The Church can extract good from 
evil, or at least gets no harm from it. She inherits the 
promise made to the disciples, that they should take up 
serpents, and,, if they drank any deadly thing, it should 
not hurt them. When evil has clung to her, and the 
barbarian people have looked on with curiosity or in malice, 
till she should have swollen or fallen down suddenly, she 
has shaken the venomous beast into the fire, and felt no 


Eusebius has set before us this attribute of Catholicism 
in a passage in his history. "These attempts," he says, 
speaking of the acts of the enemy, "did not long avail 
him, Truth ever consolidating itself, and, as time goes on, 
shining into broader day. For, while the devices of 
adversaries were extinguished at once, undone by their 
very impetuosity, one heresy after another presenting its 
own novelty, the former specimens ever dissolving and 
wasting variously in manifold and multiform shapes, the 
brightness of the Catholic and only true Church went 
forward increasing and enlarging, yet ever in the same 
things, and in the same way, beaming an the whole race 
of Greeks and barbarians with the awfulness, and simplicity, 
and nobleness, and sobriety, and purity of its divine polity 
and philosophy. Thus the calumny against our whole 
creed died with its day, and there continued alone our 
Discipline, sovereign among all, and acknowledged to bo 
pre-eminent in awfulness, sobriety, and divine and philoso- 
phical doctrines : so that no one of this day dares to cast 


any base reproach upon our faith, nor any calumny/such 
as it was once usual for our enemies to use. " 1 


The Psalmist says, " We went through fire and water ; " 
nor is it possible to imagine trials fiercer or more various 
than those from which Catholicism has come forth unin- 
jured, as out of the Egyptian sea or the Babylonian furnace. 
First of all were the bitter persecutions of the Pagan Empire 
in the early centuries ; then its sudden conversion, the 
liberty of Christian worship, the development of ihecultus 
sanctorum, and the reception of Monachism. into the eccle- 
siastical system. Then came the irruption of the barbarians, 
and the occupation by them of the orbis terrarum from the 
North, and by the Saracens from the South. Meanwhile 
the anxious and protracted controversy concerning the 
Incarnation hung like some terrible disease upon the faith 
of the Church. Then came the time of thick darkness ; 
and afterwards two great struggles, one with the material 
power, the other with the intellect, of the world, terminat- 
ing in the ecclesiastical monarchy, and in the theology of 
the schools. And lastly came the great changes consequent 
upon the controversies of the sixteenth century. Is it 
conceivable that any one of those heresies, with which 
ecclesiastical history abounds, should have gone through a 
hundredth part of those trials, yet have come out of them 
so nearly what it was before, as Catholicism has done ? 
Could such a theology as Arianism have lasted through the 
scholastic contest ? or Montajrism have endured to possess 
the world, without coming to a crisis, and failing ? or could 
the imbecility of the Manichean system, as a religion, have 
escaped exposure, had it been brought into conflict with 
the barbarians of the Empire, or the feudal system ? 

i Euseb. Hist, iv, 7, ap. Church of the Fathers [Historical Sketches, 
vol. i. p. 408], 



A similar contrast discovers itself in the respective effects 
and fortunes of certain influential principles or usages, 
which have both been introduced into the Catholic system, 
and are seen in operation elsewhere. When a system 
really is corrupt, powerful agents, when applied to it, do but 
develope that corruption, and bring it the more speedily to 
an end. They stimulate it preternaturally ; it puts forth its 
strength, and dies in some memorable act. Very different 
lias been the history of Catholicism, when it has committed 
itself to such formidable influences. It has borne, and can 
bear, principles or doctrines, which in other systems of 
religion quickly degenerate into fanaticism or infidelity. 
This might be shown at great length in the history of the 
Aristotelic philosophy within and without the Church ; or 
in the history of Monachism, or of Mysticism; not that 
there has not been at first a conflict between these powerful 
and unruly elements and the Divine System into which 
they were entering, but that it ended in the victory of 
Catholicism. The theology of St. Thomas, nay of the 
Church of his period, is built on that very Aristotelism, 
which the early Fathers denounce as the source of all mis- 
belief, and in particular of the Arian and Monophysite here- 
sies. The exercises of asceticism, which are so graceful in St. 
Antony, so touching in St. Basil, and so awful in St. Ger- 
manus, do but become a melancholy and gloomy supersti- 
tion even in the most pious persons who are cut off from 
Catholic communion. And while the highest devotion in 
the Church is the mystica^ and contemplation has been 
the token of the most singularly favoured Saints, we need 
not look deeply into the history of modern sects, for evi- 
dence of the excesses in conduct, or the errors in doctrine, 
to which mystics have been commonly led, who have boasted 
of their possession of reformed truth, and have rejected 
what they called the corruptions of Catholicism. 



It is true, there have been seasons when, from the opera- 
tion of external or internal causes, the Church has been 
thrown into what was almost a state of deh'qitiuui; but her 
wonderful revivals, while the world was triumphing over 
her, is a further evidence of the absence of corruption in 
the system of doctrine and worship into which she has 
developed. If corruption be an incipient disorganization, 
surely an abrupt and absolute recurrence to the former 
state of vigour, after an interval, is even less conceivable 
than a corruption that is permanent. 3STow this is the case 
with the revivals I speak of. After violent exertion men 
are exhausted and fall asleep ; they awake the same as 
before, refreshed by the temporary cessation of their 
activity j and such has been the, slumber and such the 
restoration of the Church. She pauses in her course, and 
almost suspends her functions ; she rises again, and she is 
herself once more ; all things are in their place and ready 
for action. Doctrine is where it was, and usage, and pre- 
cedence, and principle, and policy ; there may be changes, 
but they are consolidations or adaptations ; all is unequi- 
vocal and determinate, with an identity which there is no 
disputing. Indeed it is one of the most popular charges 
against the Catholic Church at this very time, that she is 
" incorrigible ;" change she cannot, if we listen to St. 
Athanasius or St. Leo ; change she never will, if we believe 
the controversialist or alarmist of the present day. 


Such were the thoughts concerning the "Blessed Vision 
of Peace/' of one whose long-continued petition had been 
that the Most Merciful would not despise the work of His 
own Hands, nor leave him to himself ; while yet his eyes 
were dim, and his breast laden, and he could but employ 
Eeason in the things of Faith. And now, dear Reader, 
time is short, eternity is long. Put not from you what 
you have here found ; regard it not as mere matter of pre- 
sent controversy; set not out resolved to refute it, and 
looking about for the best way of doing so ; seduce not 
yourself with the imagination that it comes of disappoint- 
ment, or disgust, or restlessness, or wounded feeling, or 
undue sensibility, or other weakness. Wrap not yourself 
round in the associations of years past ; nor determine 
that to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an 
idol of cherished anticipations. Time is short, eternity is